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Published: Saturday, 12/13/2003

Woman s murderer gets life sentence

Before being sentenced for the murder of Mary Lou Reilly, Gregory Hicks yesterday did not profess his innocence or offer a heart-felt apology to the 61-year-old South Toledo woman s family.

Hicks, whose life was spared by a jury last month, chose not to speak at all at his sentencing in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

“I was quiet throughout the trial. I might as well be quiet now,” Hicks told Judge Patrick Foley when he was given the chance to speak.

The same jury that found Hicks, 37, guilty of aggravated murder in the strangulation and beating death on March 30, 2002, of Mrs. Reilly recommended a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Hicks could have been sentenced to death.

Judge Foley imposed the jury s recommendation and also sentenced him to concurrent sentences of nine years each for aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery - crimes he committed in stealing the victim s purse.

Mrs. Reilly was found several feet from the door in her home at 230 Walbridge Ave. by her 96-year-old mother, a death that authorities initially believed was from natural causes. The direction of the investigation changed after her family could not find her purse, and an autopsy showed she was choked and beaten severely.

The family of Mrs. Reilly chose not to give victim impact statements at the sentencing. However, Judge Foley said he received several letters from her family and others.

After the sentencing, Cindy Marquis, the victim s daughter, said she had not reached any decision as to what, if anything, the defendant s silence meant. “I don t know what to think of that. I thought we might possibly hear an apology,” Mrs. Marquis said.

About 45 minutes before the murder, Hicks, of 2750 Monroe St., went into the home of Susan Rufenacht to steal her purse. Ms. Rufenacht, of South Avenue, testified that Hicks threatened her and demanded her purse, but she fooled him into believing she left it in her car.

The jury found Hicks guilty of aggravated burglary and robbery for trying to steal the purse. Judge Foley sentenced Hicks to nine years for the crimes, which will run consecutive to the other sentences.

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