October 24, 2014

Elyria
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Sheffield Lake woman convicted of shooting boyfriend

ELYRIA — Tina D’Agostino was sentenced to eight years in prison Tuesday after a jury convicted her of multiple charges in the shooting of her boyfriend at their Sheffield Lake home in 2010.

D’Agostino, who had asserted a battered-women’s defense in her trial, kept a half-smile on her face as the verdicts were read.

She was convicted of felonious assault with a gun specification, domestic violence and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in connection with the Feb. 27, 2010, shooting of retired mail carrier Steven Augustus.

The nine-woman, three-man jury acquitted her of a charge of theft of Augustus’ truck.

After the jury left the courtroom, D’Agostino was unrepentant in her remarks to Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery.

“Judge, I told you the truth of what happened between Steve and I,” she said. “I am no longer with my abuser. I am free and clear of that, so anything that comes now I can handle.”

Defense attorney Jenifer Berki asked for a minimum sentence, which was five years.

But Rothgery said D’Agostino failed to take responsibility for her actions and had shown no remorse for the severe injuries to Augustus, who lost a kidney.

During closing arguments, Assistant Prosecutor Donna Freeman reminded the jury of inconsistencies in D’Agostino’s testimony about being a battered woman. No other witness — even one of D’Agostino’s friends — testified they saw her with any injuries or bruises, she said.

Plus, D’Agostino never told the Ohio Highway Patrol trooper who arrested her that she had been physically abused during a 40-minute taped conversation, Freeman said.

Instead, Freeman suggested that D’Agostino was angry because the relationship was ending and Augustus wanted her out of the house that she had shared with her first husband.

D’Agostino, who had locked herself in a bedroom, could have called for help from a window or fired a warning shot before shooting Augustus after he used a hammer to punch out the lock, Freeman said.

“I’m not here to suggest the way he acted was appropriate,” Freeman said. “It was a volatile, unhealthy relationship.”

But Freeman asked, “What kind of precedent will it set to say it’s OK to shoot another human being?”

When she addressed the jury, Berki asked people to close their eyes and put themselves in D’Agostino’s place as Augustus burst through the door with hammer in hand.

“You shoot once,” Berki said. “You just saved your life. The moral of the story is don’t ever tell someone you’re going to kick someone’s (expletive)(expletive) with a hammer in your hand because they just might believe you.”

The jury deliberated about two hours before reaching the verdicts.

After court, Augustus declined to comment except to say “Thank God it’s over.”

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