November 23, 2014

Elyria
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William Dembie Jr. settles wrongful death lawsuit with slain wife’s family

William Dembie

William Dembie

Holly Dembie

Holly Dembie

ELYRIA — Convicted killer William Dembie Jr. has agreed to pay the family of his slain wife $200,000 to settle the wrongful death lawsuit they filed against him.

Dembie, 45, is serving a prison sentence of 20 years to life for stabbing his estranged wife, Holly Dembie, to death Aug. 11, 2011, at the couple’s Cowley Road home in Grafton Township.

He was convicted of murder and felonious assault in the killing, but acquitted by Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Mark Betleski of a more serious aggravated murder charge. Dembie is appealing his sentence arguing that he should only have received a prison term of 15 years to life.

J. Anthony Rich, Dembie’s lawyer, said his client agreed to the settlement because there’s a chance he might actually be able to pay off that amount if he ever gets out of prison. If the civil case had gone to trial and his client had been ordered to pay a multimillion-dollar figure to Holly Dembie’s family, it would have been uncollectible, he said.

Rich also said he didn’t think his client, who was a guard at the Lorain County Jail at the time of the killing, had much chance of winning before a jury.

“There’s not a whole lot to try because he was willing to plead to murder,” he said.

Timothy Sweeney, who represents Holly Dembie’s mother, Cheryl Foldes, said he doubts his client will ever see a dime from Dembie, but it was never about the money for her. Rather, he said, it was another way to hold William Dembie accountable for his actions.

“There’s no amount of money that could ever make up for that kind of loss and that kind of trauma,” he said.

He said that William Dembie already lost his interest in the family’s home in a separate court action.

Dembie told investigators that the couple got into an argument about their troubled marriage that escalated into violence. He said he got a combat knife to hold so that Holly Dembie would listen to him.

But she tried to flee from her husband, who pulled her shirt off. Holly Dembie was climbing out of a second-floor bathroom 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 outside and stabbed her several more times before calling the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office and reported that he had almost beheaded his wife.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.


  • Jeff Kidder

    Let’s get this straight: Dembie & his wife argue to the point he gets a “combat knife”. Have any of you ever seen a combat knife? She runs upstairs, locks the bathroom door & attempts to escape him by jumping out the bathroom window. He breaks through the door, grabs her by the pants, stabs her multiple times & pushes her out the window. He then goes outside, stabs her multiple more times, then calls 911 & says he almost decapitated her! Judge Betleski determines that it wasn’t aggravated murder”!!! What do you have to do in this county do get an “aggravated murder” charge, eat the body too! What a bunch of idiots! How do you sleep at night Betleski? What if it was your kid?

  • Otter

    He’s appealing because he thinks he should have gotten 15 years to life, instead of 20? How about letting the Dembie family appeal, because he should at least have gotten life with no parole.

  • luvmytoaster

    May you rot in hell Mr. Dembie…..

  • Cheryl Foldes

    Dembie is appealing the added consecutive sentence of 5 years that was in addition to the life sentence with parole eligibility after he serves that sentence. He was also give 5 years of PRC (post release control) after he serves the sentence in its entirety. The sentence should have been LWOP and the family has no doubts that if a jury would have received the case, he would have gotten that along with that would have been a depiction of the deviance and shocking details of the lifestyle that Dembie had, the numerous weapons he made available to himself, the previous attempt to take a gun under disability (alcohol) and leave his home with a 5 day old baby to kill his former ex-wife’s husband. He actually said this at sentencing. To kill a police officer is a capital crime. My question is why was he allowed to work at the jail when he needed a psychological examination? This is not normal behavior. It was reported and the report does not indicate the actual occurrence of the details of what happened that night, according to Holly Dembie. One can only wonder if he had been reprimanded for carrying a gun with a CCW permit under disability would the outcome of his latent rage have taken another course. It’s too late to speculate for Holly. It is not too late for others. Stalking, abuse, jealousy, rage and untreated mental illness all contribute to intimate domestic violence and murderous rage. Don’t blame the victim for trying to get help, blame the perpetrator. It’s all about accountability for the crime!

    • luvmytoaster

      Your loss must be unbearable – I am so sorry.

      • Cheryl Foldes

        My loss is a tremendous heartache, more than mine, was the sufferings of his 4 year old son who still grieves losing his mother at the hands of this cruel man.

        • luvmytoaster

          I just can’t imagine what that little boy must be going through – I am thankful that he has a loving extended family.

          • Cheryl Foldes

            He knows, he attended his mother’s funeral. He grieves his losses. He has been spared from the details surrounding the last 3 years as that is not what we foresee as his life. What another has done is not what he can rationalize at this time. It is not his burden to bear; it is the murderer, who his son never called “father”, who can bear all burdens for his actions! That night his son was spared from his rampage by not being in a location where the murderer could touch him. His fate lies not in the hands of a father who murdered his mother, but in that of a family that surrounds him with supports and love and has become his extended family in all ways. Holly would be smiling and pleased that he is with us in her untimely absence.

          • golfingirl

            Well said.

            Prayers with you and your family.

  • givemeabreak1234

    really $200,000? Shame

  • Shelley Dennison

    He’s a piece of garbage that us taxpayers are paying for.. may he rot in hell

  • Guest

    Dembie has until June 30 to file his appellate brief, if it isn’t in on time, his appeal will be thrown out. He never had anything on time before, he won’t play this game with the District Court of Appeals like he did Common Pleas Courts.