The bodies of 39-year-old Paul Bradley and 14-year-old Paris Bradley were found in October 2018 in a burning car in East Cleveland. Cuyahoga County prosecutors said three men had broken into family home, tied up, and beat the man while demanding money, then kidnapped the pair for five hours, killing the girl and setting fire to the car.
The county medical examiner said the girl died of a gunshot to the head and the man from a combination of blunt force trauma and smoke inhalation from the fire. Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Paul called the slayings the result of “a barbarism that I cannot explain.”
Common Pleas Court Judge Kelly Ann Gallagher on Thursday sentenced Ronald Newberry and Kodii Gibson, who were each convicted of aggravated murder and other charges in separate trials, to life terms, Cleveland.com reported.
Gallagher ordered Newberry, 27, to spend 65 years behind bars until he is eligible for parole. Gibson, 25, must serve 50 years before being eligible for parole. Attorneys for both men vowed appeals.
Newberry declined to speak at the hearing. Gibson apologized to the Bradleys and to “the community,” saying he didn’t intend for anyone to die that night and wished he could have stopped that from happening.
“Like a tidal wave, my choices have rippled through the Bradley’s homes and my own,” he said, reading from a written statement. “For that, I’ll always be sorry.”
Demarcus Sheeley, who pleaded guilty last week to involuntary manslaughter, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped aggravated murder, kidnapping and other counts. Sheeley, 28, will be credited for nearly three years and will be eligible for parole after a dozen years in prison.
Paul Bradley’s relatives described him as a devoted father who was adored by his 14 children and was the backbone of the family. Paris, a high school freshman, was a joyful and outgoing honors student who ran track and had blossomed into a mature young woman, they said.
Prosecutors originally announced plans to seek the death penalty, but a jury rejected that in Gibson’s case and recommended a life term with parole possible after 30 years for each killing. Prosecutors then dismissed capital charges against the other two defendants.