Posted by: kathyhugs | January 14, 2010

The last few weeks and info

The last few weeks have been very emotional as we have waited to hear if the trial was going to happen. There were motions flying so fast that I talked to Lynn almost daily. subpoenas were issued and everyone prepared for the battle to come. Our prayers daily were for strength and peace and wisdom. In the middle of everything, Lynn called us to say that there were meetings and phone calls going on about a possible plea deal. Well we have heard that before. I even spoke on the phone to Attorney Chris Amato back in July to let him know that we were willing to have Lynn negotiate. Those talks have fallen through every time the subject has been raised. We know that Lynn has a great case and that if a trial was supposed to happen then God would give us the strength to handle it But we also understood that there was always the chance that a jury could find him not guilty. It is always a possibility when a jury trial happens.

So we hear that talks are happening. We wait, we wait some more, we wait over the weekend. Finally Tuesday morning we here that JC Amato, Jr has verbally given his approval to the plea and that he has even signed the papers acknowledging that he understood the terms. But I still couldn’t let myself believe that it could be over just like that.

This morning as we prepared to leave for the courthouse,  I even thought about what would happen if JC changed his mind at the last second. I was prepared for anything to happen. We drove to Lisbon and called Lynn when we got into the courthouse. We were able to go directly up to the Prosecutor’s office on the third floor to await the start of the trial. Lynn met us there along with several of the assistant prosecutors and Detective Andy Sweeney. Everyone was very kind and took care of us. When we were ready to head into the courtroom Andy escorted us directly into the room. The media cameras were already in place. Everyone took their place and the Bailiff called JC and his attorneys into the courtroom. This was the first time we had seen JC since before Tonia died. I was shocked by how old and hunched over he looked.

The judge then was announced with the traditional “please rise for the Honorable C. Ashley Pike”.  It had started. The judge asked Lynn to give him a brief summary about the charges and asked him some questions. Lynn let him know that the state agreed to the pleas and that we had also been informed and agreed. The judge clarified that we were present in the courtroom and that we had indeed agreed to the pleas. We were surprised because legally we have no say in the matter. It has only been through the graciousness of Lynn that he has kept us informed and asked our opinion. His job as the prosecutor is to do what is best for the people of Ohio.

The judge then called JC and his attorneys to the podium. He read through all of the charges and what the charges meant and asked JC if he understood. He then asked him if he was under the influence of any drugs, alcohol or medications. JC stated that he was taking a medication prescribed by his doctor but that it helped him to think more clearly. The judge confirmed his statement once again.

At that time he asked him if he was ready to state his plea. JC stated that he was ready at that time.

“On the case of voluntary manslaughter with a weapons specification, how do you plead?”


At that time I broke down crying. At last we heard him say that he was guilty of killing Tonia. The legal journey has found some closure.

The judge then set the next hearing date and the court was dismissed. The reporters were very kind and we were able to refuse or agree to make a statement. We had no plans to say anything but they asked about Tonia and our feelings about the plea and we started talking. We both were able to talk about God and our faith. We also shared some stories about Tonia. After the media was finished we waited for Lynn to talk to them and we left the courtroom.

We all debriefed back in the prosecutor’s office and then Rick and I headed home. It still feels very surreal. I think it will take a few days to get it through my heart.

I will post more in the next few days!  Thank you God for your peace and strength!

I will update these links as I find them!

Links to News:


Morning Journal News


  1. You’re not the only one crying… Praise God! CLOSURE!

  2. May we always be true to our beliefs

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: