ELYRIA — Two more people were sentenced Friday in connection with the 2016 killing of Jimmie Holland Jr., with both receiving prison sentences of more than 10 years.
Mark Sanchez, 26, and Jasmine Schafer, 29, both of Lorain, appeared before Judge James Miraldi to be sentenced after reaching plea agreements with prosecutors last year.
Sanchez was sentenced to 14 years in prison on aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, felonious assault, burglary and obstructing justice. Prosecutors agreed to drop the aggravated murder and murder charges Sanchez was originally indicted on if he agreed to testify against Elliott Kirkland, who faced capital murder charges and was the one prosecutors said pulled the trigger and killed Holland.
Schafer was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, burglary and obstructing justice. As with Sanchez, prosecutors agreed to drop charges of aggravated murder and murder if she would testify against Kirkland.
Sanchez’s attorney, Jack Bradley, told Miraldi that Sanchez always has been honest with him about what happened.
“He admitted to me that he committed crimes because he was addicted to drugs and the person who was supplying him with drugs would have him go and steal things and do things,” Bradley said. “I don’t think he had any idea that a murder was going to take place, but he was there when it took place. He’s taken responsibility for his involvement in that.”
Bradley also stated that Sanchez has received numerous threats while in Lorain County Jail for cooperating with prosecutors, but said his client “has held up.”
Sanchez broke into tears multiple times during the sentencing. He also had several family members in the courtroom during the hearing.
“I want to say I’m sorry for being involved in this,” Sanchez said. “I didn’t know anything about what was going to happen. I’m sorry it happened, and I’m sorry I was part of it.”
During Kirkland’s trial, Sanchez testified that he witnessed Kirkland shoot Holland three times in Holland’s bedroom. Sanchez also testified that he and Kirkland had broken into Holland’s apartment with the intention of robbing the man, who they believed to be a drug dealer with a large amount of cash on him.
Before sentencing Sanchez, Miraldi spoke about the disturbing nature of the facts about the case that came out during Kirkland’s trial.
“This entire case has been … one that will not be forgotten,” Miraldi said. “The behavior of the co-defendants, including Mr. Sanchez and the things he was involved with up to that fateful day, were not good. Some of the behaviors of others were barely above animal behavior. It was terrible.”
Miraldi told Sanchez that the defendant came from a decent background and has a “supporting and loving family,” but his drug addiction got in the way.
“I’m hopeful that time in prison, as unpleasant as it will be, will help you continue to gather your resources so that when you come out of prison, you won’t fall back into the lifestyle that go you here in the first place,” Miraldi said. “I see there’s more than just a spark of humanity in your eyes, and I think you can do something with your life.”
Schafer declined to speak during her sentencing.
Last week, a third co-defendant, Latrice Thomas, was sentenced to three years of probation after pleading guilty to obstructing justice. Kirkland is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday after a jury found him guilty of aggravated murder but declined to sentence him to the death penalty, instead recommending life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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