FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — An Iraq war veteran who pleaded guilty to beating his girlfriend to death with a baseball bat was sentenced to 50 years in prison Friday after apologizing to his victim's relatives.
Anthony Ochs, 40, wept at times as he spoke to Susan Lombardi's family before an Allen Superior Court judge sentenced him for killing the 42-year-old Fort Wayne woman in April 2012.
"I know you guys had me in your home. I know you guys treated me like your son. I appreciate that," Ochs said during his apology.
The Fort Wayne man pleaded guilty last month to one count of voluntary manslaughter for clubbing Lombardi over the head with a baseball bat, leaving her with traumatic brain injuries. Lombardi died eight days after the attack, The News-Sentinel reported .
Lombardi's father and brother spoke briefly in court before her stepmother, Deborah Caudill, spent time detailing Lombardi's gruesome head injuries. Caudill said Lombardi bled constantly from her nose, mouth and ears as she lay hospitalized after the brutal attack.
"Every bone in her face was pulverized," Caudill told the court.
Caudill said she thinks Ochs attacked Lombardi because she was trying to "escape" him and that he would not let her go. She said she forgives him, but is not certain Ochs truly grasps what the lethal beating did to her stepdaughter.
Ochs' attorney, Randy Fisher, said his client was a decorated military veteran who had served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq, but has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, blackouts and fits of rage since returning to the U.S.
"Those aren't excuses. They aren't defenses. But they are mitigating circumstances we'd like to point out," Fisher said.
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