Julian Boyd had been off the medication he needed to keep his mental illness in check for nearly two months when he snapped last May 5, his attorney said.
In a fit of rage over a television show, Boyd, 38, attacked the elderly couple who had raised him from infancy. Authorities say he struck his 81-year-old great aunt, Marion Darden, in the face, then brutally beat her husband, Raymond Darden, also 81. Mr. Darden died from his injuries two months later.
On Thursday, Boyd pleaded no contest in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to involuntary manslaughter and robbery. As part of an agreement with prosecutors, Judge Stacy Cook found him guilty and imposed an agreed-upon 13-year prison sentence.
“While I can’t offer you the maximum penalty based upon the agreed-upon sentence, there is no maximum penalty that will fix your loss, and for that I am sorry,” Judge Cook told Mr. Darden’s five daughters and other family members in the courtroom.
Originally indicted on murder and misdemeanor domestic violence charges, Boyd faced up to 14 years for the reduced charges.
Mark Herr, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said that when police responded to the Dardens’ Parkdale Avenue home May 5, Mrs. Darden told officers Boyd had come into the bedroom where she and her husband were watching TV. He had grabbed the remote control, struck her on the side of the face, then began hitting Mr. Darden in the face.
Mrs. Darden fled from the room to call police, who arrived to find Mr. Darden on the floor in a pool of blood, unconscious. He died July 4 from blunt force injuries.
Brenda Darden Watkins, the victim’s second oldest daughter, told the court that she and other family members kept vigil at their father’s bedside for two months as he lay in a coma.
“We were there as he took his last breath,” she said. “Our father was our rock. He was a proud man that dressed and walked with pride. He had a style and fashion that would put young men these days to shame.”
An Army veteran, Mr. Darden owned a black hair salon with his first wife, she said. He worked at Jeep for 37 years and passed on his value for education to his children and grandchildren.
“Yes, death is a natural progression of life, but murder is not,” Mrs. Watkins said. “… Raymond Darden, the patriarch of our family, was killed in an animalistic fit of rage by an individual who he opened his heart and his home to.”
Boyd made no comment to the court. His attorney, Jane Roman, told the court Boyd had “a long mental-health history.” He was initially found incompetent to stand trial but was restored to competency after treatment at the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital, she said.
“We don’t present this to the court as an excuse, but he indicates that at the time of these events he had been off his medications for approximately two months,” Ms. Roman said.
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