Sudderth gets 18-year sentence

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 29, 2007

Ohio law specifies that a person convicted of murder be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years to life in prison. Isaiah Sudderth received that sentence Wednesday and an additional three years for using a gun to kill Damon Pringle.

Sudderth told Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper he wished he could take back the events of June 18, but he could not. He said he was saddened by those events, but he disagreed with the jury’s guilty verdict because he believes he was acting in self-defense.

He then began citing problems with his case and the trial that he thinks led to the verdict.

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“I feel there was misuse of evidence and the lawyer (Roger Smith) did not represent me as he should have,” Sudderth said. “Gordon King wanted to testify on my behalf. Roger Smith wouldn’t put (King) on the stand because he was in jail on a probation violation. The cell phone presented in court, that was a misuse of evidence. I know Detective (Chris) Bowman didn’t take the phone off me and I believe the jury based its decision on the phone. He said I had access to the phone to call for help (after the shooting), but the phone was in the apartment.”

Sudderth said he would file an appeal of his conviction. Cooper said he would appoint him new counsel.

Damon Pringle’s father, George Pringle, told Cooper the last few months have been difficult for his family.

“No parent should have to bury a child,” he said, “The last four months have been the worst time myself and my family have been through.”

Turning to Sudderth he said, “I don’t hate you. I hate what you did, I hate what happened. Our families have been friends for 30 years and I hope we continue to be friends. If you don’t know Jesus I hope you invite him into your heart. We all have to answer to Him someday.”

George Pringle told Sudderth’s family if there was anything his family had said or done, he was sorry for it.

Sudderth’s mother, Victoria Murphy, said her family has had difficulty with what happened also. But she believed her son shot Pringle in self-defense.

“I always taught my children right from wrong. I taught them to back away from a fight if you can,” Murphy said. “But if you can’t, protect yourself.”

She said the fight was brought to her son and he was not the aggressor.

Damon Pringle was shot multiple times at the home of Sudderth’s girlfriend, Kimberly Sammons. Sudderth said Pringle and others came uninvited to Sammons’ Ironton apartment, and assaulted him while Sammons and another woman, Kristen Schneider, were arguing.

Authorities contended the fight was over before Sudderth got the gun and he could have left the residence without shooting Pringle.