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Published: Monday, 2/8/2010

Swiergosz sentenced to 40 years for kidnapping, rape and assault

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The man twice charged with crimes related to two separate standoffs within weeks of each other was sentenced in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Monday to a total of 40 years behind bars.

Michael Swiergosz, 47, was sentenced on multiple kidnapping, rape, and assault charges. He was found guilty Jan. 28 by a Common Pleas Court jury after a two-day trial.

The convictions stem from an incident April 28 in which he held his victim hostage for several hours during a standoff with police that shut down a local retirement village and schools in the area.

Nine witnesses testified during the trial, including Swiergosz's ex-wife and Swiergosz himself. The evidence showed that Swiergosz armed himself with a stolen 9mm pistol and went to the Sunset Retirement Communities on Indian Road where his then-estranged wife was employed.

About 50 police officers responded to the scene, and Swiergosz kept them at bay for about six hours. He released his ex-wife after more than five hours and gave himself up about 30 minutes later.

During often tearful testimony in which he defended some of his actions and admitted guilt in others, Swiergosz testified in his own defense. He told jurors he did not go to the retirement community that day with the intention of hurting anyone but instead to get answers to a long list of questions.

The couple, who had been married for 14 years before their divorce last year, have four children, ages 17, 12, and 8 years, and 11 months. Before the incident, his ex-wife had moved out of their home with their four children.

Swiergosz was found guilty of three counts of kidnapping, one count of felonious assault, two counts of rape, one count of aggravated burglary, all with gun specifications, as well as one count of having a weapon while under indictment for a felony.

Judge Denise Ann Dartt ordered the sentences imposed Monday to run consecutive to others already imposed. He was sentenced Dec. 22 to seven years in prison after admitting guilt to firing "within close proximity" of his ex-wife during a separate March 10 incident.

Judge Dartt sentenced him to four years in prison for the felonious assault charge, consecutive to three years for the gun specification. She ordered it consecutive to a one-year prison sentence ordered just days earlier by Judge Alan Mayberry of Wood County Common Pleas Court.

In that case, Swiergosz was sentenced after entering a plea to burglary for taking a gun from the home of an acquaintance. The gun was the same one used in the April 28 incident.

This story has been updated and corrected form an earlier version..



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