ELYRIA – Clarence Adams III was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison Tuesday after a three-judge panel found him guilty of murder, felonious assault and aggravated robbery, but cleared him of aggravated murder charges and a second murder count.
Had Adams, 23, been convicted of aggravated murder he could have faced a possible death sentence.
Adams was accused, along with Austin Diaz, who is awaiting trial in his own capital case, of beating and robbing Lamar “Mark” Taylor, as the Lorain man walked to his East 34th Street home on April 8, 2012.
Taylor’s ex-wife, Vicki Moore, told Adams during Tuesday’s hearing that she and Taylor’s family would never forgive Adams for what he had done and hoped he would suffer for the rest of his life.
“You have no remorse, no feelings,” Moore said. “You ruined not only your life, but our life.”
She also said that Adams could have chosen to let Taylor live by halting the beating and letting him go. Police determined that Adams and Diaz got out of the car they had been riding in and randomly attacked Taylor, who was returning from a night out with friends. The beating stretched over 400 feet as Taylor tried to make it to his ex-wife’s house, where he was living at the time.
Jose “Macho” Torres, who witnessed part of the attack before fleeing to ask a relative to call 911, described watching the two men beat Taylor and testified that he saw Adams deliver a “field goal”-like kick to Taylor’s face.
Adams told Taylor’s family that the attack never should have happened and said he had “no reason” for it.
“I honestly do apologize for what I partook in that night,” Adams said.
Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Laura Dezort urged Common Pleas Judge John Miraldi, the presiding judge on the panel, to send Adams to prison for the maximum, which was the 23-years-to-life sentence the judge ultimately handed down.
“Nobody is safe from him when he is out,” Dezort said.
She said Adams has a lengthy criminal record, including 18 cases from when he was a juvenile. She also said Adams had only recently been released from prison after serving a 1-year sentence for beating a man in Cincinnati in a similar attack.
Dezort said the victim in that case later committed suicide and his family blamed the attack by Adams for his death.
But Kreig Brusnahan, one of Adams’ defense attorneys, said there was no proof that the victim in the earlier beating had committed suicide because of his client’s actions. He also said that his client had a rough upbringing and knows that he has problems.
“He has begged me to find someone that can find out what’s wrong with him,” Brusnahan said.
Brusnahan also said that Adams was drinking and using illegal drugs the night Taylor was attacked.
Dezort, however, argued that Adams has never taken responsibility for his actions the night of the killing.
“He has shown no remorse and certainly no regret,” she said.
Brusnahan said after the hearing that he was relieved by the judges’ decision.
“I believe the verdict accurately reflected the evidence that was presented,” he said.
Lorain Police Sgt. Buddy Sivert, the lead detective on the case, said while he respected the verdict he had hoped for a guilty finding on the aggravated murder charges. He said Adams should spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“I don’t think he deserves one single chance to get out and be in society,” Sivert said.
Miraldi and the other two judges on the panel, Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery and Domestic Relations Judge Lisa Swenski, all declined to comment. Miraldi is still presiding over the Diaz case.