It was the only sentence under the law that Rothgery was allowed to impose on Grimes, who pleaded guilty to murder and felonious assault charges against his lawyer’s advice last month.
“You are an evil monster and a murderer,” Marcia Hruby, Melanie Hruby’s sister, told Grimes during the hearing.
Marcia Hruby said that she had lost her best friend and sister to Grimes and that her nephew prays for his mother every night, blowing kisses toward heaven.
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Grimes, 25, beat and strangled Melanie Hruby at an Eaton Township home on Dec. 18. He told deputies after his arrest that the pair had been doing drugs earlier in the day and an argument broke out.
He hit Hruby, and when she struck him back, he hit her again, hard enough to knock her unconscious. He then carried her upstairs and choked her, deputies reported.
After Hruby was dead, Grimes got in her van and drove off. He later called a friend and said he had “hurt or killed his girlfriend.” The friend called 911 and deputies arrested Grimes when they arrived at the house.
Marcia Hruby and other family members have denied that Melanie Hruby was in a relationship with him.
Kenneth Lieux, Grimes’ attorney, had wanted to have a pathologist review the medical evidence in the case to see what role the heroin and other drugs in Melanie Hruby’s system had played in her death. But in letters sent to Lieux, Rothgery and prosecutors, Grimes argued against that legal strategy, saying it “would be bogus and injustice.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, Grimes apologized for killing Hruby.
“I really am sorry for what happened,” he said. “I know it doesn’t mean a lot, but I didn’t mean to kill Melanie.”
Several members of Hruby’s family held signs saying “Justice for Melanie” until Rothgery asked them to put them down.
Marcia Hruby said that Grimes also said that he had too many chances already and deserved to be locked up for the rest of his life.
“You are a degenerate with no soul,” she said.
The family promised to contest parole when he becomes eligible.
Hruby’s mother, Deborah Beck, wrote in a letter read in court that Grimes shouldn’t have even been free when her daughter was killed.
Grimes had been placed on probation a day before the killing for an unrelated heroin possession case. His attorney in that case has said that there was nothing remarkable about the drug case and prosecutors had agreed to probation.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.