August 21, 2014

Elyria
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Griffin gets 43 years to life for murder

ELYRIA — Patrick Griffin was sentenced Monday to 43 years to life in prison for the murder of Alberto “Cookie” Gutierrez, who was left to bleed to death in a ditch along Pratt Road in Huntington Township on Thanksgiving Day 2009.

Patrick Griffin is led from the court following his sentencing Monday. (CT photo by Bruce Bishop.)

Gutierrez’s family said afterward that they thought justice had been served, and they thought Griffin, 44, would die in prison.

Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski sentenced Griffin to 33 years to life in prison for the aggravated murder and gave him an additional 10 years in prison after ruling that Griffin was a repeat violent offender.

In a low voice, Griffin, 44, of Lorain, replied, “No,” when he was asked if he had anything to say before sentencing.

Assistant County Prosecutor Laura Dezort asked for the maximum sentence of life without parole, saying that Griffin had an extensive record as a juvenile and as an adult.

As an adult, Griffin was convicted in 1988 of felonious assault in two separate shootings, Dezort said. He shot and paralyzed a former girlfriend when she refused to say who had fathered the child she was carrying, Dezort said.

“She’s paralyzed,” Dezort said. “She’s in a wheelchair and that’s all because she wouldn’t tell him who she was pregnant by.”

In a second case, Griffin was convicted of shooting at someone in a car after an accident, apparently because he did not want the people involved in the crash to call police, she said.

Two drug cases are still pending against Griffin, and he is accused of threatening the woman he paralyzed, Dezort said.

“Nobody is safe if he is around,” Dezort said. “He has never lived a law-abiding life. He has always committed crimes — violent crimes against people.”

As a juvenile, Griffin was prosecuted for two cases of gross sexual imposition as well as theft offenses and aggravated arson, Dezort said, adding he has never been on the street for more than a year without getting in trouble.

Before sentencing, Gutierrez’s sister, Juanita Gutierrez, told Betleski that family members still wait for Alberto Gutierrez although they know “he’s never ever coming back.”

“Thanksgiving will never be the same,” she said, sniffling away tears.

Gutierrez’s 17-year-old daughter Tatyana Gutierrez broke down and could not read her statement before sentencing and left the courtroom.

But a family member read her letter, which stated, “Not only did you take my father, you took someone’s best friend, uncle, son, brother; just keep in mind you always will be able to see your son.”

“You did something ignorant, and now you’re going to get what you deserve,” Tatyana Gutierrez’s letter stated.

After he was sentenced, Griffin asked if he could see his young son, who is several years old and was in the courtroom with other relatives.

A court official said, “Take him out,” and deputies took Griffin away to jail.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.