Nearly two years ago, Lynn McElroy walked into her son’s Inverness Avenue home to find the 22-year-old dead of a single gunshot wound to the head.
McElroy was in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on Thursday asking Judge Lou A. D’Apolito to impose a maximum sentence on the man responsible for killing her son, Quest Waggoner.
That request was fulfilled.
The judge sentenced Donovan Miller, 27, of Cambridge Avenue, to 30 years to life on the murder charge, three years on a tampering-with-evidence charge, and a three-year gun charge. The sentences will be served consecutively.
A jury convicted Miller of the charges late last year.
Waggoner was pronounced dead Sept. 22, 2011, after his mother went to his South Side home and found him. The coroner determined he had died several hours before being found.
McElroy told the court the situation has changed her life dramatically and brought a pain that will never go away.
“For the last 16 months, my life has been anything but normal. I struggle every day to find the strength to go on. ... There is nothing that anyone can do to make this pain go away,” she said. “He has given me a life sentence because of his actions. ... No parent should ever have to go through something like this.”
McElroy and Karrie Kascsak, Waggoner’s girlfriend and the mother of his child, pleaded with the judge to give Miller the maximum life sentence.
Martin Desmond, an assistant county prosecutor, said Miller stood over Waggoner as Waggoner slept and shot the man in the head.
“This was a cowardly act, a vicious act,” Desmond said. “I hope he is never released from jail. This man should not be on our streets.”
Miller, who at one time was friends with Waggoner, denied any guilt in the murder. He told the court he is praying for Waggoner’s family and will continue to fight on appeal for his freedom.
“I am an innocent man. This crime I did not commit. He was more than a friend to me; he was like a brother,” Miller said before sentencing.
Judge D’Apolito said the evidence in the trial was overwhelming, adding that Miller is untruthful in his denial of guilt.
“You did a terrible thing. You can say you didn’t all day long, ” the judge said.
Miller will get credit for the 496 days he has spent in the county jail.