October 21, 2014

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Teen suspect says goodbye to mother

WELLINGTON — Daniel Petric got to say goodbye Friday to the mother he stands accused of gunning down.

The 16-year-old Wellington High School junior spent less than 15 minutes visiting Sue Petric’s remains at New Life Assembly of God after a county judge ordered that he be given a private viewing before visiting hours began Friday afternoon. The church is where Daniel’s father, the Rev. Marc Petric, whom Daniel also allegedly shot, is the pastor.

COURTESY WEWS-TV
Daniel Petric leaves New Life Assembly of God in Wellington after viewing his mother’s body Friday. Daniel, 16, is accused of killing his mother, Sue Petric, and wounding his father at their home last week.

Daniel’s attorneys had asked that he be allowed to attend his mother’s funeral Saturday, but county Juvenile Court Judge David Berta ordered that he have no contact with his family or anyone else during the half-hour visit he was allotted.

Berta said he believed that Daniel, who has not been convicted of any crime, had a right to have closure because he would have to deal with his mother’s death for the rest of his life.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo argued against allowing Daniel out of the county Juvenile Detention Home. Not even his father, the Rev. Mark Petric, could attend the funeral because he remained in critical condition at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland on Friday, Cillo said.

“It’s somewhat distasteful given that the husband will not even be able to attend based on the actions (of Daniel),” Cillo said.

But Daniel’s court-appointed guardian, John Otero Jr., said he could see no reason Daniel shouldn’t be allowed to visit his mother one last time. After the hearing, Otero said, Daniel — who wasn’t in court Friday — was satisfied with Berta’s decision.

Daniel’s family was willing to allow him to visit his mother.

“The family has forgiven Daniel and we love him, and love covers a multitude of sins,” his grandfather, Michael Broeckel, told Berta.

Daniel was arrested last Saturday after fleeing his parents’ Brighton Township home after his sister and her husband forced their way inside when Daniel refused to allow them access to the house. They found 43-year-old Sue Petric dead and the Rev. Petric, 45, severely injured from shots fired from a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol.

Sue Petric had been shot in the head and arms, but sheriff’s deputies investigating the case have not said where her husband was shot.

When Wellington police first arrested him, Daniel claimed that his father had shot his mother before turning the gun on himself.

Daniel has since confessed to the shootings, according to investigators.

Daniel is charged with murder and attempted murder, charges that, given his age, mean he will likely be tried as an adult. A probable cause hearing, which could lead to his case being presented to a county grand jury, is set for next month.

The state cannot seek the death penalty given Daniel’s age.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.