After the jury was excused, Judge Ayers said, “Michael Ustaszewski, do you have anything to say why sentence of the Court should not be pronounced against you, or do you have anything to offer in mitigation of punishment?” Michael replied, “Yes, Your Honor.”
Ayers responded, “Anything that you wish to say the Court will listen to.” Michael said simply, “I’m innocent. I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened, and that’s it.”
The judge said, “All right. Anything else you wish to say?” Michael responded, “I believe there is some people missing, Calvin Ellis, and several other people. I don’t understand, man.” The judge said, “Thank you.”
Judge Ayers then sentenced Michael to be committed to the Ohio State Penitentiary for the rest of his natural life and told him that he was also to pay the costs of the prosecution. He told Michael to be seated and Michael asked, “Can I say another thing?” The judge said, “Certainly you may.”
Michael said, “I ain’t never in my life killed nobody or had anything to do with it.”
The judge advised Michael of his right to appeal and asked Kuhnle to file the notice of appeal on Michael’s behalf. Ayers stated that the recognizance bond was cancelled and directed that Michael be taken into custody. Again, Michael spoke. “So that means I got to go to prison for the rest of my life for something I ain’t did?” The judge: “Michael, you will be eligible for a parole hearing at the end of fifteen years.” Michael: “Fifteen years? I’m innocent.”
Michael was eighteen years, six months, and twenty days of age.
Court was adjourned at 5:00 pm.
Note: Having retired in 1982, Judge Charles W. Ayers died on 29 December 2006. I have a feeling that if he were alive to know how this played out he would be appalled.