Telling Robert F. Carter he essentially had stalked and assassinated his estranged wife, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart sentenced Carter on Monday to spend his life in prison.
Carter, 44, of 1143 Belmont Ave. will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years for aggravated murder and three additional years for a firearms specification stemming from the Dec. 24 shooting death of Wendabi Triplett, 41.
“Not only did you fire two or three shots at her from a distance, you then walked to her body, stood over her body, and discharged more bullets into her body,” Judge Duhart said. “Not only did you do this, you did this in front of her children. You did this in front of her children during Christmastime.”
Ms. Triplett had just arrived outside a friend’s house for a Christmas party in the 4400 block of Terrace View Street with her brother and teenaged daughter and son when she was shot outside her car.
Prosecutors said during Carter’s trial last month that she had wanted to divorce Carter and had taken her children and moved.
“It is my belief, Mr. Carter, that this was about control, and when you could not control Miss Triplett anymore, you chose to commit this heinous, heinous act,” the judge said.
Ms. Triplett’s mother, Leslie Hayes, told the court her daughter was compassionate and giving — her best friend and co-worker. The two of them worked side by side in the medical records office of the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital.
Christmastime, Ms. Hayes said, “should be about celebration — giving and receiving — not the memory of your loved one being murdered. Our Christmases will forever be changed. She meant so much to so many.”
Defense attorney Merle Dech told the court Carter planned to appeal his conviction and sentence. He took issue with a portion of a pre-sentencing report that said Carter “admits he was high” when he committed the offense.
“He denies committing the offense. He denies it to this day,” Mr. Dech said.
Carter, when given an opportunity to address the court, took a deep breath and told Judge Duhart he believes jurors would have returned a different verdict if they had been presented with DVD recordings and a police report in which witnesses at first said they didn’t know who the shooter was, but just that they thought it was him.
“They did not say it was me until they got up on the stand,” Carter said. “I believe they was coached to say that.”
Before imposing the sentence, Judge Duhart said Carter had shown no remorse and pointed out he had been convicted of three felonies and nine misdemeanors as an adult, including convictions for menacing in 1988 and felonious assault in 1989.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.