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Published: Thursday, 7/17/2003

Erie County man convicted again in killing

An Erie County man was convicted for the second time yesterday of shooting a Norwalk, Ohio, man to death three years ago during an argument.

Thomas Wasily, 47, pleaded guilty in Erie County Common Pleas Court to one count of voluntary manslaughter in the April 6, 2000, killing of Bradley Hackathorn.

As part of a plea agreement, visiting Judge John Patton sentenced Wasily to four years in prison and dismissed a firearm specification that carried a mandatory three-year term. Wasily received credit for just over three years spent in jail and prison, meaning he has less than a year left to serve.

Wasily was convicted in November, 2000, of voluntary manslaughter, with a gun specification and was sentenced to eight years in prison. But the 6th District Court of Appeals in Toledo overturned the conviction in December, 2002.

The fatal shooting occurred when Mr. Hackathorn, 38, and Raymond Spangler went to Wasily's mobile home in Berlin Township to collect money for motorcycle parts Wasily had bought. Mr. Hackathorn threatened Wasily and came toward him, and Wasily grabbed a 20-gauge shotgun and fired at him.

Yesterday in court, Wasily apologized to members of Mr. Hackathorn's family, Judge Patton said.

“He stated to them that he was very, very sorry,” Judge Patton said after the hearing. “If he said it once, he said it four times. He only wished it could be undone.”

Judge Patton said Wasily's contrition appeared genuine.

“It's very few that will make the apology that he did,” the judge said. “And it was spontaneous. He didn't have anything written down.”

Earlier, one of Mr. Hackathorn's sons, John, spoke of the family's pain.

“He said the loss of his dad was a tremendous loss, and he knew this was something unfortunate that had happened,” Judge Patton said. “He wished that he had his dad.”

Wasily appealed his first conviction, and the appellate court ruled that the trial court erred by allowing a recorded statement from Mr. Spangler to be played for the jury.

Mr. Spangler died before the trial, and the admission of the taped statement without testimony from him violated Wasily's rights, the appeals court ruled.

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