Defendant Candis Sherman with her attorney, Amber VanGunten, cries after she is sentenced in Fulton County to 10 years in prison for the attempted aggravated murder of her son, Logan, then 15.
THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
WAUSEON — Candis Sherman said she was planning to kill herself the morning she walked into her 15-year-old son’s bedroom, pointed a 38-caliber handgun at him, and fired five rounds.
Just before she was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison by Fulton County Common Pleas Judge James Barber, Sherman, 57, told the court her estranged husband had died just a few weeks earlier. They had no health or life insurance, she said, and she feared she would lose her home.
“I was feeling totally overwhelmed and incapable of handling all of this,” Sherman said between tears. “I just wanted to take my own life, but all I could think about was where that would leave my son and what it would do to him.
“I know this probably will not make sense, but my choice to attempt to take his life was not done as a malicious act,” she said. “My thinking at that point was to spare him additional pain of losing another parent. I believed that we would be at a much better place.”
The rural Delta woman had pleaded guilty in January to attempted aggravated murder with a firearms specification for the July 21 shooting of Logan Sherman.
While her attorney, Amber VanGunten, asked the court to consider a sentence of less than the 12 years recommended in the plea agreement, Fulton County Prosecutor Scott Haselman reminded the court of the brutality of her crime and its long-term impact on her son.
Sherman purchased the gun and ammunition the day before, he said, “with the express thought of killing her son and killing herself.”
“She walks into her son’s room, points a gun at the back of his neck from five feet away, and begins pulling the trigger, emptying the gun, ... striking her son what appears to be four times in the back, shoulder, and arm,” Mr. Haselman said.
Amazingly, Logan survived, he said.
“Logan is able to wrestle the gun away from his mother, call for assistance, and frankly your Honor, it’s a miracle that this child is alive,” the prosecutor said.
He said Sherman’s depression and frustration with her life were no excuse.
“The defendant knew what she was doing was wrong. She knew but she did it anyway,” Mr. Haselman said. “While this is a sad case, a tragedy, let’s not forget who the victim is here. It isn’t the defendant. It’s her son that has to spend the rest of his life knowing that his own mother tried to murder him in his sleep.”
With two dozen or so supporters in the courtroom for Sherman, Ms. VanGunten told the court her client had no prior criminal history but a long history of mental-health issues.
“It is unfortunate — beyond unfortunate — that a person of Ms. Sherman’s faith and character stands before you here today,” she said.
Logan’s caregiver and paternal aunt, Peggy Lesniewicz, told the court that Sherman by her actions had “dramatically changed” her son’s life and the lives of many others. Still, she expressed forgiveness and compassion for her sister-in-law and said, “Someday, perhaps Logan will be able to” forgive her too.
“Although Logan has chosen not to be here today, I am happy to say that he is alive and well and thriving in our care,” Ms. Lesniewicz said. “We love him and will provide guidance and care for him as he matures into an adult and beyond.”
Judge Barber said he had been “conflicted” about her sentence.
“You’re going to have to mend some bridges. You’re going to have to do some building, and you’re going to have some opportunities to do that,” he told her.
“This is not a death sentence.”
Mr. Haselman said afterward that Sherman would be eligible to ask the court for judicial release after serving eight years in prison.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.