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It’s been 30 years since Tonia Ramey-Guy was stabbed and robbed at the gas station she managed, but the 64-year-old said she never doubted her attacker — a man she once thought of as a friend — would answer for what he’d done.
“I said one day he’ll get his justice, and it took this long for that to happen,” Ms. Ramey-Guy said Tuesday after her former friend, Odis Hughes, Jr., 61, of Denver, was sentenced to three to 15 years in prison by Judge James Bates of Lucas County Common Pleas Court.
Hughes, who pleaded no contest Jan. 14 to robbery and felonious assault, left Toledo after the violent 1984 hold-up at the former Sohio gas station at Cherry Street and Central Avenue, moved to Colorado, and assumed the name of a pimp he knew in Toledo.
“From that point forward, he lived what almost could be called an exemplary life,” his attorney, Daniel Arnold told the court. “… This happened in 1984 and since that time he’s had three speeding tickets.”
Hughes married, had children, and always held jobs, Mr. Arnold said. At one time, he even worked as a corrections officer in Colorado.
Last summer, his long run from the law ended when Denver police investigated him for allegedly impersonating a police officer. Mr. Arnold said Hughes had told someone he was a police officer in order to get that person to leave him alone.
Hughes was not charged in the incident, he said, but the investigation led police to run his record. He was still using his own Social Security number, and police found the outstanding arrest warrant for him from Toledo. At his Denver apartment, Mr. Arnold said, police also found a framed picture of Ms. Ramey-Guy.
“He had never stopped worrying about his one-time friend,” Mr. Arnold said.
Hughes, dressed in a black suit, apologized to Ms. Ramey-Guy.
“I am a changed person and really look toward the victim as being a victim. She was my friend, and I did what I did,” he said. “I was doing drugs back then and I haven’t did drugs since. This is about letting her know that I am truly sorry for what happened back then.”
“Why didn’t you stick around to see whether she died or not?” Judge Bates asked him.
Hughes said his father had told him she was going to be OK.
“He had told me because I didn’ leave right away. I was still around the city for about three months before I even left,”" Hughes said. “He said she’s OK. He had checked, but he said I had hurt her.”
Judge Bates pointed out that Ms. Ramey-Guy sustained six cuts to her neck, two to her right arm, one to her right thigh, two to her right ear, one to her left armpit, and one to the middle of her back. “That’s what you do to a friend?” he asked Hughes.
The victim’s daughter, Cherydan Ramey, told the court her mother let Hughes into the gas station before she had opened up that morning because she trusted him. Instead, he cleaned out the station’s safe and nearly killed her.
“Whatever his sentence is, he is getting what he deserves — every bit and more,” Ms. Ramey said. “She had also carried this burden every day of her life since this horrific crime occurred, and yet she still has a hard time understanding how he could have done this to her.”
Judge Bates told Hughes that if he’d been truly remorseful, he wouldn’t have left town but would've stuck around to make sure his friend was going to be all right.
“I cannot reward somebody for taking off and living somewhere else and changing their name for a 30-year time period,” the judge said. “You are not the same person I would’ve been sentencing back in 1984, but this crime is serious and your removing yourself from prosecution for 30 years is pretty serious, too.”
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: email@example.com or 419-213-2134.