September 16, 2014

Elyria
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William Dembie appeals sentence for wife’s murder

William Dembie listens as the judge reads his sentence last month. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

William Dembie listens as the judge reads his sentence last month. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA — Convicted killer William Dembie Jr. is appealing his sentence of 20 years to life in prison for stabbing his estranged wife to death.

Brian Darling, Dembie’s lawyer, said his client won’t appeal his conviction last year on murder and other charges for the Aug. 11, 2011, slaying of Holly Dembie at the couple’s Cowley Road home in Grafton Township.

“There was sufficient evidence to uphold the verdict,” Darling said.

But he also said that Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski went too far in imposing separate sentences for a felonious assault charge that Dembie also was convicted of in addition to the murder charge.

Betleski himself acknowledged that the issue could end up before an appeals court when he sentenced Dembie to five years in prison for the felonious assault charge and 15 years to life on the murder charge.

Dembie, who was a Lorain County Jail guard at the time of the killing, told detectives that he and his wife got into an argument about their failing marriage and he hit her. After helping her clean up, he said he got a combat knife so she would listen to him.

The argument resumed and Holly Dembie tried to flee her husband, who pulled her shirt off in the house. She ran upstairs to a second-floor bathroom and was climbing out a window when William Dembie forced open the door, pulled off her pants and stabbed her before letting her fall to the ground outside.

He then went downstairs and outside and stabbed her multiple times, including in the neck. After she was dead, Dembie called the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office and told a dispatcher that he had almost beheaded his wife.

Prosecutors had sought to have Dembie convicted on a more serious aggravated murder charge, arguing that he planned the murder, but defense attorneys successfully convinced Betleski that it wasn’t a premeditated slaying.

But prosecutors were able to convince Betleski to impose consecutive prison sentences, even though Dembie’s lawyers argued the fight in the bathroom was part of the same course of conduct as the killing outside and Dembie should only have been given a sentence of 15 years to life.

Darling said that will be the crux of the appeal.

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


  • Jamie Smith

    How sad for the Holly Dembie Family to hear this news. Too BAD William Dembie couldn’t have gotten a Death penalty sentence. He certainly deserved it !!! He even looks like a EVIL man. Just hearing the details of how he killed her is CHILLING. He didn’t like strangle her in a fit of rage he slaughtered her.

  • Mark B

    I guess he is not likening it very well in Marion

  • Larry Crnobrnja

    Do the right thing, William. Off yourself!

    • luvmytoaster

      Thank you Larry – my thoughts exactly! This poor woman’s family will likely live to see this monster out on parole – shame on Betleski for being convinced that it wasn’t a premeditated slaying……

  • Don Grantzki

    One thing all hoodrats have in common. Do em a favor and give em an inch, they’ll squeal for a mile. A different set of players in the court room would have netted him the hot shot he so deservedly needs.

  • DonMega

    Do your time and be a good sissy in jail

  • Zen Grouch

    Love the photo…

    Poor sucker looks like Moby contemplating his living arrangements for the next 20 years, with Eminem as a room mate.

  • Sherrice Sheppard

    Really, who cares if it’s 15 to life or 20 to life. Why waste tax payer’s money on this idiot!!!

  • How bob

    Stay tuned for the next episode of ,`Crime` – Brought to you by the people who invented it and started it , All over the world !,