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A woman who was shot six times by her husband in their Atwater home in 2010 was in court Friday along with her son and other family members to ask the judge for leniency.
After being granted a new trial last year on a legal technicality, Lawrence Bozek took a chance that a judge might look favorably on his version of the events that sent him to prison.
That bet did not turn out in Bozek's favor on Friday, as he received an additional two years in prison beyond the 20 he was serving for shooting his wife six times, requiring a SWAT team to lock down the Porter Road neighborhood, storm his house and arrest him the morning of May 5, 2010.
Convicted at his second trial in March by Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman on two counts each of attempted murder, both first-degree felonies, and felonious assault, both second-degree felonies — all with three-year, mandatory firearms specifications — Bozek, 61, still earns credit for seven years and 15 days already served in prison.
In his statement to the court, Bozek told his wife he "couldn't ask for anything more" from her, as she, family members and friends showed up in court to support him in his effort to get a lesser sentence.
"You're a real trooper," he told his wife, after apologizing for his actions. Bozek also thanked God "for being with (his wife) those seven years ago," for the support of his mother-in-law, his son and family friends who showed up in court.
Saying it was only "by the grace of God" the victim survived, Pittman had no kind words for Bozek.
"You could have killed her. Inches. Seconds. She could have bled to death. Almost did," the judge told him.
Defense attorney Larry Whitney put several witnesses on the stand, with one promising to give Bozek a job and another promising him a place to live upon his release from prison. His son also testified that the family wants his father to be released.
"Everyone wants him to be let out," 20-year-old Austin Bozek said.
Despite losing half her blood from gunshot wounds, Bozek's wife on Friday stood by him. Prosecutors "made up" facts against her husband of 23 years after he "picked up a drink and lost his faith," she told Pittman.
Bozek’s wife said her husband’s actions had to be a result of something “medical, psychological or spiritual,” but not hate.
"To the state, he's a criminal," she said. "I know without a doubt that he didn't do this on purpose … His eyes were black. My emotional suffering will not end until he is given his sentence based on the facts, not lies, misconceptions or crime scene theories the prosecution has come up with."
She also asked Pittman to impose only the minimum sentence on her husband.
"This is not something that will happen again," the victim said. "It was one day, one brief minute, when something went really, really bad."
Pittman ruled in April that Bozek had a separate motivation and intent for each time he opened fire on his wife during the incident. On Friday, Whitney and Assistant Portage County Prosecutor Eugene Muldowney again argued those points.
Whitney argued unsuccessfully that the sentences on each charge should merge because the shooting was one continuous act, not the separate acts that prosecutors alleged.
"There is really no different motive, whether it was to wound, to maim or to kill," he argued.
Asking the court for a sentence of 32 years in prison, Muldowney said Bozek clearly shot his wife a total of six times with a .22-caliber handgun first "to stop her from leaving” the house, then “to stop her from making a phone call,” and then “to kill her."
Muldowney, who echoed Pittman's statement about "the grace of God" saving the victim, said it wasn't the state's fault or the victim's fault that Bozek did what he did.
"It's the defendant," he said. "This is one of the most violent events I've ever prosecuted in my 27, 28 years as a prosecutor."