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UPDATE: 50 years for pair in Kaluza case

Published: Tue, September 23, 2008 @ 10:25 a.m.
  The Kaluza Verdict

YOUNGSTOWN — Joseph Kaluza wheeled himself down the hallway in the Mahoning County Courthouse to the applause of friends, family and supporters.

“I can always move on, but I’ll never forget anything,” the former KFC manager said after the sentencing this morning of the couple convicted of shooting and leaving him paralyzed.

Judge Timothy E. Franken of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Taran Helms, 23, and Hattie Gilbert, 20, each to 50 years in prison, the maximum sentence.

A jury convicted Helms last week of attempted murder, aggravated robbery, felonious assault and kidnapping, all with specifications that a gun was used. Jurors convicted Gilbert of complicity to all of the same offenses.

Gilbert planned the robbery and bought the bullets and Helms shot Kaluza and robbed him of the restaurant’s $300 bank deposit.

The crime forever changed Kaluza’s life, he said.

“My son, Josh, can’t understand why his dad can no longer tuck him in bed at night,” Kaluza said.

His daughter, Tiffany, 12, “wants her dad to hug her back and she doesn’t understand why he can’t,” he said.

Helms said nothing during this morning’s proceedings while Gilbert apologized to Kaluza and his family, the community and her family.

For details, see Wednesday's Vindicator or www.vindy.com.


1Ytownnative(1121 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure thats enough time behind bars.

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2localman74(1 comment)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

I think they should have gotten more time, but 50 years is the max. I don't think that is enough. Joe is no longer able to hug his kids. Anyone who has kids and cares about them knows how important it is to be able to hug and kiss them daily. My wife is a Manager for K.F.C. and I worry daily about her safety. That was a senceless crime by a couple of ignorant people. Joe, My prayers go out to you and your whole family.

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3JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

I'm impressed that this happened relatively recently and sentencing has already taken place. Just a horribly sad situation.

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4cityslicker(21 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

What a sad story this is. Mr Kaluza and his family will be in my prayers. As for the perpetrators of this horrible crime, they get to spend the next 50 years behind bars to think about what they have done.

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5andersonathan(687 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Excellent, harsh sentences but fair build more prisons and lock these thugs up Rehab ankle braclets community service don't work jail cells, no air, no cable, no radios.

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6paulydel(1607 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

I think that a life sentence is justified in this case. It was planned and the put a man in a wheelchair that was just doing his job and earning a living. I think the law should be amended to incude life without a chance of parole and I think this judge would have used it if he had it because he gave them the maximum under the current law.

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7apollo(1227 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

If they'd been white and the victim black, they'd have gotten 5 years and out in 2.

A black kid a year or so ago got some outrageous number of years in prison for shooting AT police, not hitting anyone.

Is it any wonder why blacks don't trust the criminal justice system.

Is it any wonder why most of the death row inmates proven innocent using DNA are black?

If you steal 100 million and cause the collapse of a company, causing people to lose their life savings, you get no jail term, a golden parachute for 20 million, and the government bails out your company.

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8dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Apollo: why can't you just admit the 50 years in jail was right. I don't care what color you are, you should get the max. Why make it a race issue, when it is not! You also forget there are many people, black, white, red, yellow, who do get out of jail very early or not sentenced long for murder, rape, robbery, ect. Then what happens? They get out and do it again.

As for a person getting away with embesseling money, do you remember Mickey Monus, the original owner of Phar-Mor. He was given the max sentence for his crime and served the whole term. So people that commit coroporate crime DO get punished and serve time.

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9apollo(1227 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Hey Dmets using Monus was a bad example as I worked there at the time of the embezzlement and bankruptcy. Monus got nowhere near what he deserved. Rememeber too that he tried to FIX the first case with a friend of a former YSU football player who worked at Phar Mor. Plus 2 other WHITE executives got minimal sentences for the same crimes.

I agree that the perps in the Kaluza case deserved long and hard prison sentences. The problem is when whites commit the same crimes against blacks, they usually get less, much less time. Why make it a race issue? Because it is!

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10dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Apollo: Monus took the fall for alot of people. He was the scapegoat. He did 10 years in federal prison for his crime! My family also worked at the corporate during the time of Mickey and after. The two you are talking about they turned evidence over on Mickey that is why they didn't get the same sentence. So no I do not think Mickey was a bad example.

As for Blacks get more time then whites for the same crime. Tell me the last time two white people did the same thing and what their sentence was for it. Most crime in our area is black on black, or black on white crime.

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11dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Oh and apollo there are many who do get away with murder! There are some people who have killed, raped, and did worst crimes then Mickey and have recieved less time! So explain that one too, while your at it!

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12apollo(1227 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Dmets, All you have to do is Google "sentencing white black" and there are literally thousands of articles that all indicate the same thing, blacks are sentenced far harsher than whites are for the same crimes.

Monus deserved Phar Mor than 10 years in a country club prison. He masterminded the largest corporate fraud in history. (at the time) Cost thousands of businesses and investors to lose everything.

Just because Walley and Finn turned states evidence, doesn't mean Mickey was any less guilty. Then to top it off, he tried to fix his first trial with a former YSU football player (Isaac I believe) and his connections to a juror.

But white folks who steal a billion get less time than black folks who steal $200 from the local convenience store.

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13dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Mickey was not in a counrty club prision. He was in a federal prision. I know people who went to visit him. Those people who get more time for stealing two hundred from a convenience store. They more then likely used a gun to hold it up. But there are still far more people convicted of murder and rape who get out early and serve alot less of there sentence, and some less then 10 years. At least Mickey served his whole sentence. Beleive me, Phar-Mor didn't go completely under cause of what MM did. It ran for many years after all that. Those people who ran it after that did the store chain in. I lost my job cause it. Do I beleive black do get sentenced worst?, in some cases yes and others no. I think these two were luck to have gotten 50 years, it should have been much long. We'll see how long they are actually in jail.

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14michael(33 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

hey dmets. i like how you act like your opinions are facts. ghood job.

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15the_hoff(5 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

worst part, kaluza can't even kick these guys in the nuts after they do get out.

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16dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Hey Micheal they are not opinions, they are facts. Mickey was NOT in a country club prision. Mickey also got the maximum sentence for his crime, 10 years. He also did serve all 10 years. So instead of making a statement that can mean anything, please sight examples!

the hoff... I hope they never get out!

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17michael(33 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

<i>But there are still far more people convicted of murder and rape who get out early and serve alot less of there sentence, and some less then 10 years.</i>

where's your research?

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18dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Public records! Anyone can read them!

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19apollo(1227 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Dmets, you simply make stuff up without a shred of evidence.

Many federal prisons including the one Monus spent time in was hardly a place where they put hard core criminals.

Why is it most of the inmates on death row who are later found innocent through DNA are blacks?

Google black and white sentences and you'll find thousands of articles and studies that say the same thing, blacks are sentenced and serve longer terms than whites for the exact same crimes.

The criminal justice system is racist too.

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20the_hoff(5 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

(this post is assuming that a convicted murderer is male; try to keep an open mind and think logically about this)

Castration could help to curb our murder or attempted murder rate. Hear me through; don't interrupt. Instituting mandatory castration for all convicted murderers immediately before being released from prison could cause people to think twice about taking the shot if they knew that they would be losing their testicles if they were caught. (ha, that rhymes) Because they would be losing their testicles immediately before they were released from prison, they would have the opportunity to make as many appeals as they could to show that they were innocent and keep their testicles. Convicted persons should try harder to stay in the prison to exhaust their appeals, effectively keeping these people off of the streets. Lower testosterone levels in a person's body after castration could help to reduce their overall aggression level.

The procedure itself is generally non-life threatening, inexpensive and heals in a relatively short amount of time. It is also quite effective at causing sterility. Sterility ensures that these convicted persons do not inject their DNA back into the gene pool of the general population. No vasectomies and no prosthetics. Both of the boys are gone.

I'm not talking about people convicted of vehicular homicide, self-defense killings, involuntary manslaughter or other. I'm talking about premeditated murderers.

YES! Some may argue that "this is cruel and unusual!". It may be, it all depends on your viewpoint. You can be sure that the convicted person will be crying like a baby immediately before castration and really think about what they did.

I'm sure there are fundamental flaws to this idea. The theory is not refined, it's just an opinion. Every male knows that they need their testicles and that you can't just go out and get another pair at walmart.

Losing testicles = bad; Universal Truism. Wish everyone's thought about murder was similar.

-the hoff

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21dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Apollo: Did you go visit Mickey in prision? No. He was in a fedral prision, not counrty club. He was in there with other peole who committed fedral crimes. He was in his orange jump suit and served his time.

But this is NOT about Mickey. It is about two people who did something very very wrong and deserve to rot in jail. I do believe these two were not one of the black got more time then they should cases. I don't think they got enough, and color doesn't even play apart in my mind! The sad part is in the youngstown area it is mostly black on black crime.

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22JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

"They were threatening castration, Dude; are we going to split hairs here?" I like it in terms of sexual deviants as a condition of release but that's even a stretch.

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23dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Judges in every case can be different. Plus if they go with a trail by jury, which are a jury of their peers, they decide where they are guilty then even decide on if the death penality should be given. They judge up holds that desision of the jury. So some of those black on death row are put there by people who are their peers. Sometime the justist system can be completely unfair. I mean look at OJ Simpson he killed two people(mind you both white) and got away with it. All do to people helping him find ways to beat the system. So when you talk about sentencing if can people everyday people giving the death sentence or jail time. Not the judge.

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24MarineTank08(3 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Apollo: I dont understand why everthing has to be a race issue. I bet that most whites saw that article and saw two PEOPLE get justice upon them. And I bet most blacks saw a race issue that was unjust. That is a huge problem in our country and shows a huge swing in the racism and culture in our country. Most whites are becoming less and less concerned over the race of others. While blacks have become dependent on racism to help them. Dependant on the "Affirmative Action" lifestyle and not solving problems head on. It is a lot easier to have Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson bail you out. Crime is an issue that touches every American.

As for " Why is it most of the inmates on death row who are later found innocent through DNA are blacks?"

There is a simple answer for a simple minded person's question.
The population in most prisons and Death row is what?
Ding Ding Ding.......BLACK

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25apollo(1227 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

MarineTank08, you obviously aren't aware that racism is alive and well. It simply functions subversively rather than out in the open like a few decades ago. The code words that the racist use are easy to see.

Again, google search white black sentences and see that blacks routinely get longer sentences for the SAME crimes.

Blacks who are convicted of using crack cocaine get harsher sentences than whites who use cocaine. Blacks are also more likely to be poor which is a major contributing factor to crime.

Simply claiming that white people no longer see color is both funny and untrue. It's just not as blatantly outward as it used to be.

By the way, I'm white!

Just because there are more blacks on death row than whites doesn't explain why nearly ALL of the people who are getting cleared of their crimes via DNA evidence are black. White juries and racism does explain the discrepancy.

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26dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Did you ever think it is the witnesses who give testimony might have been completely wrong, but beleive so much what they are saying( not realizing they are not right); they become 100% convincing. Also the stuff i read about sentence shows that before guide lines were put in for sentencing a criminal there was about a 3 month difference between blacks and whites. Then after guideline were put in, the gap lengthened. But they also said there past criminal history is taken into consideration. Also everything depends on what crime is committed, cause in some cases Hispanics get longer sentences then blacks.

Honestly though gooling white black sentences did not bring up many case comparisons at all. Maybe you should post your findings.

Also I think the two poeople who did committed the attempted murder of Joe, got a decent sentence, cause I think should never even get the teast of freedom again!

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27Ytown_born_and_bred(27 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

You know Marine, I don't know how you determine that Black Americans have become dependent on racism and the "Affirmative Action" lifestyle and not solving problems head on. Affirmative Action is needed because of the discrimination in the workplace and white women benefit more from that lifestyle anyways. Racism and discrimination still exists in America. How do you determine that blacks are dependent on racism? I believe that due to the history of this country, some blacks cannot help, but to be leery of whites and the criminal justice system. It wasn't that long ago that blacks were fighting for the right to vote and equal rights with their lives. And Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson bailing somebody out, please!!!! Do not be fooled, the media tends to always put the spotlight on them when there are issues concerning unfair treatment of blacks, there are far more leaders in the black community, the media just doesn't speak to them. Just look at what occurred in Jena, La., on the black radio programs, black shows, the black churches, and colleges and universities student leadership was unbelievable!

I agree with the sentences received for the crime, it was the max punishment for the crime, so it's fair.

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28Ytown_born_and_bred(27 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

And I must also add that I did my senior thesis on the bias sentencing of black men v. white men, I will post my references on here after I unpack, if anyone is interested, but there are a lot of disparities in the sentencing stage. It's interesting also, because one teacher that I had who was very liberal gave me a B on the research paper, I allowed someone else to use my paper, yes it was wrong, but the person tweaked it a little and a very conservative prof graded the paper and gave her a F. Same paper, the intro was tweaked a little, same research and conclusion, differnt professors with diff ideologies, and diff grades. Both professors white, both had much tenure and were both the chairs of their depts, one in the political science dept the other in the criminal justice dept. We were still trying to figure out why the diff grades.

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29apollo(1227 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

Yes, Ytown_born_and_bred, post the results that you found! It'll be interesting to see the discrepancy that so many whites deny or ignore.

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30dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 10 months ago

I am so sick of the issues about white vs blacks in everything. It make me sick that two black people were given the maximum sentence and someone had to say but if they were white it would not have been that way. The facts are they were black, not white, and you need to quit the what ifs, it was the other way around. You'll drive yourself nuts. The courts will never please everyone. People have gotten away with crimes thruoghout the uears whether the black, white, hispanic, chinese, bi-racial, or any other race. Nothing is perfect especially when run by people.

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31Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

“I can always move on, but I’ll never forget anything,” the former KFC manager said after the sentencing this morning of the couple convicted of shooting and leaving him paralyzed."

In the early days of 2010 the subculture that almost killed Joe Kaluza in a robbery has struck after Morning Mass at St. Dominics . This time the robbery victim was shot in the head and killed . How many more victims before the area has the criminals taken off the streets ?

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