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Betz to stay in prison 3 more years; Badilo, McClure decision later



Published: Sat, February 23, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

The Ohio Parole Board will not release Trumbull County killer Gary A. Betz for at least three more years and will have a hearing to decide whether killers Mark Badilo and Jeff McClure will be released this year.

By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

WARREN

The Ohio Parole Board will not release Trumbull County killer Gary A. Betz for at least three more years and will have a hearing to decide whether killers Mark Badilo and Jeff McClure will be released this year.

Betz will have his next parole hearing in 2016.

Betz, 59, killed Ronald Goche in Goche’s Newton Township tavern in 1977. Betz was paroled in 2007 after serving 30 years on a life-prison sentence, but he went back to prison in January 2011 for violating his probation by committing drunken-driving offenses in 2010 and 2011 in Minerva.

Dennis Watkins, county prosecutor, argued against Betz being released again, saying killing Goche was bad enough, but Betz’s driving offenses indicate he’s still dangerous.

Meanwhile, the parole board will allow victims to speak at the parole board hearing at 1 p.m. April 24 at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections in Columbus about the planned release of Badilo and McClure, both 44, who killed Badilo’s brother, Tim Badilo, on Feb. 24, 1988.

Earlier this month, the parole board announced that it had tentatively scheduled the two men to be released from prison, and Watkins asked the board to have a hearing.

The killing took place at McClure’s house on Broadway Street in Weathersfield Township, but Tim Badilo’s body was discovered in a burned car in Hubbard Township.

Watkins said he and Hubbard Township Police Chief Todd Coonce will attend the hearing to oppose release.

Watkins and Coonce have opposed their release in part because of the danger to a witness whose testimony led to the arrest and conviction of the two.

The witness said McClure and Mark Badilo told him they would kill him if he ever talked about what he knew of the killing, Watkins said.

He didn’t say anything for three years, but newspapers articles were printed on the case for several years afterward, and they persuaded the witness to come forward out of fear that the killers would kill him to make sure he didn’t talk, Watkins said.

The Badilo brothers and McClure all lived near the boundary of Weathersfield and Howland townships line near Deforest and North roads.

The parole board also said Tarik Allen, 34, will remain in prison until at least February 2017, and his accomplice, Maximillian Bell, 34, will remain in prison until at least February 2016 on convictions for involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping and aggravated robbery in the October 1995 death of Mark Heltzel, brother of Trumbull County Commissioner Paul Heltzel.

Both Allen and Bell are from Warren and have served 16 years of 12-to 50-year sentences.

In a letter to the parole board, Watkins said parole for either man would “demean the seriousness” of their “brutal crime” and endanger the community.

Police said the night of Heltzel’s death, he was at a home on the city’s East Side and left voluntarily in his car with Bell and Allen, who police believe decided to rob Heltzel of his wallet, money and jewelry. They were both 17 years old.

Police said Heltzel, 34, was hit in the head during the robbery and found beside the road at South Street and Pine Avenue Southeast. He died three days later.


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