Judge denies sentence reduction for murderer

Lawyers for Patrick McGail cited his age and prison behavior.

A Miami County judge Friday denied a request by lawyers for Patrick McGail of Troy to reduce his sentence before parole consideration for murder and other charges, saying he shows no remorse.

McGail, now 20, was convicted by a Miami County Common Pleas Court jury in August 2014 in the October 2013 death of Nate Wintrow, 20, of Troy during a home invasion. Two other Troy men, including shooter Jason Sowers, 19, pleaded to charges in the case, testified against McGail and are in prison.

Sowers is serving 18 years to life while Brendon Terrel, 21, was sentenced to 14 years. Sowers and McGail went into the house while Terrel did not, according to court testimony.

McGail was sentenced to 24 years to life on charges of murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and a firearms specification.

McGail’s case was back in court Friday at the order of the 2nd District Court of Appeals. That court ruled in December he should be resentenced by Judge Christopher Gee because two of the charges (murder and aggravated robbery) stemmed from the same act.

New lawyers hired by McGail’s family following the ruling also asked Gee to determine if the six-year sentence ordered for aggravated burglary should be served concurrently or consecutively to his other sentences. If the judge had approved their request for concurrent sentences, McGail’s prison time before parole consideration would have gone from 24 years to life to 18 years to life.

Gee heard arguments from McGail lawyers Candace Crouse and Eric Eckes of Cincinnati and special prosecutor Ryan Saunders of Clark County and comments from Wintrow’s parents and fiancé.

McGail declined comment.

Crouse asked Gee to take into consideration McGail’s youth at the time of the crime and his “numerous accomplishments above and beyond the average inmate” since he was sent to the Warren Correctional Institution. She said McGail has worked to better himself and fellow inmates, actions she said demonstrate “his devotion to rehabilitation.”

Eckes asked the judge to consider McGail’s continued claim he was not the one who planned the robbery, as others testified.

Saunders argued against a lesser sentence saying McGail had not admitted to his actions the night of Wintrow’s death, including breaking into the home where not only Wintrow but his fiancé, a friend and a Wintrow’s young son were present.

Wintrow’s parents and fiance’ spoke against any lesser sentence, commenting on the daily impact of the loss of the young man on their lives.

Gee said false testimony by McGail at trial demonstrated a “callus” and “contemptuous attitude.”

He further said McGail was “someone who refuses to accept any responsibility for your criminal conduct.” While efforts at rehabilitation might be commendable, the judge said, “it doesn’t necessarily compel the court to infer … the defendant has been rehabilitated in the absence of any expression of true remorse.”

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