TCI inmate sentenced to life in prison

Lynch used rope made by victim; fined $25,000


Telling the judge “do what you have to do,” a former inmate at Toledo Correctional Institution stood passively as he was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing his cellmate.

Dustin Lynch, 26, refused to give Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gary Cook any reason to sentence him to less than the maximum sentence for aggravated murder and would not allow his attorney to offer any mitigating factors.

“I feel like whatever sentence you give me, whether it’s 20-to-life, 25-to-life, 30-to-life, it amounts to life without parole because I’m already doing a 20-to-life sentence. So, do what you have to do,” Lynch said.

Lynch, who was in prison for killing a Medina County girl in 2002, pleaded no contest and was found guilty Oct. 2 of aggravated murder in the March 17 strangulation of Arturo Lopez, 43, formerly of Port Clinton. Lynch also carved the word “CHOMO” — a reference to child molester — into Lopez’s back.

The homicide was the second this year at the Toledo prison, which has since experienced two additional slayings of inmates.

Jennifer Donovan, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, asked the court to impose life without parole because of the violent way in which Lynch killed his first victim — a 17-year-old girl in her family’s home where he had been welcomed — and his second victim in prison — with a rope he had directed Lopez to make.

“This takes time. It takes effort. It takes anger,” she said, adding that Lynch made statements after the 2002 murder that he would kill again. “This is an individual who should not be back on the streets.”

Defense attorney Jeff Simpson asked for a sentence that would give Lynch the opportunity for parole.

“Dustin is a young man, a lot of life ahead of him,” Mr. Simpson said. A sentence with parole eligibility “would give Dustin something to work towards.”

Judge Cook rejected that, citing Lynch’s violent history, his diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, and his behavior record in prison.

In addition to the maximum prison sentence, Judge Cook also ordered Lynch to pay the maximum fine of $25,000 — something he said Lynch may one day be able to do if he finds a way to profit from the story of his crimes as he once said he would do.

“This is not a free license for you to go back to the prison system and act with total disregard for any of your cellmates, because if that’s the case you’ll be brought back to another court and sentenced again, and eventually you’ll just run out of opportunities to have any interaction with anybody else in any community,” Judge Cook said.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: or 419-213-2134.