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Published: 2/9/2008

Toledoan gets 9 years for shooting man during robbery in park

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Using a cane to steady himself, Rick Burk stood in front of a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge yesterday to share how an encounter with two young men on a summer night in Sleepy Hollow Park changed his life.

Mr. Burk, who was then 47 and living in the Old West End, was shot twice on Aug. 16 during a robbery attempt by Monta Price, 18, of 1002 Greenville Rd. and Ira Brown, 19, of 839 Carver Blvd.

Yesterday, Judge Ruth Ann Franks sentenced Price to nine years in prison for aggravated robbery and eight years for felonious assault.

In accordance with an agreement reached between the prosecutor's office and the defense, Judge Franks ordered that the sentences be served concurrently.

"Your life will forever be changed because of that moment," Judge Franks said to Mr. Burk.

"Yes," he responded.

"Your injuries are serious," she added.

"And permanent."

Price entered an Alford plea Thursday to felonious assault and aggravated robbery in exchange for the gun specifications on each being dropped.

In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence or does not admit he committed a crime but still pleads guilty because he decides it's in his best interest. The court treats it as a guilty plea.

Price and Brown were convicted of robbing Mr. Burk, who was with a female companion about 9:45 p.m. in the park at Dorr Street and Richards Road.

Brown pleaded guilty Oct. 18 to robbery and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Yesterday, Mr. Burk told Judge Franks that the two young men had a chance to leave after they failed to get money, but instead Price decided to shoot.

County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Loisel said the deal was made because two key witnesses failed to show at previous trial dates and he was uncertain they would appear at Monday's scheduled trial.

He said what Mr. Burk experienced was "everyone's nightmare" - enjoying time in the park when someone with a gun approaches you.

"The state reluctantly made the offer for a variety of reasons," he said, adding that the police department and the victim approved the deal.

Judge Franks noted that arrest warrants were issued Jan. 30 for Mikaela Buck, 18, of 6741 Lincoln Green St., Springfield Township, and Katie Pezan, 18, of 616 Highland Creek Ct., Springfield Township, after the two failed to appear for Price's original trial date. The two again failed to appear for his rescheduled trial date of Feb. 4.

Price declined to speak before his sentencing.

Defense attorney Mark Berling only noted that there was an agreed upon sentence.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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