By Joe Gorman
The family of a man who was shot to death in September 2010 on a South Side street in a case of mistaken identity is happy the man charged in the crime was found guilty Friday, even though he is not eligible for the death penalty.
Lori McBride, daughter of Thomas and Jacqueline Repchic, said the murder charge for which jurors found Aubrey Toney guilty in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court means he will be in prison for a long time.
“Now that justice has been served, we can finally begin our healing process and seek closure,” McBride said.
Toney, 33, was accused of the murder of 74-year-old Thomas Repchic and the wounding of his wife, Jacqueline, then 74, as they were driving in a car at Southern Boulevard and East Philadelphia Avenue on Sept. 25, 2010. He faced the death penalty for the killing but was found not guilty of aggravated murder. He was found guilty of murder and two counts of felonious assault with firearm specifications.
Jurors could not reach a verdict on a charge of attempted murder for the wounding of Jacqueline Repchic.
The murder charge carries a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. The felonious-assault conviction carries a sentence of eight years, and both counts will merge into one at sentencing. The firearm specifications carry a mandatory three-year prison term, and they will merge into one at sentencing as well.
Toney faces a total sentence of 26 years to life in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
Testimony in the trial began May 29 before Judge Maureen Sweeney.
Police said the Repchics’ car was almost the same as a car a man with whom Toney was feuding had been known to drive, and he was looking for the car when he fired several shots at it, believing his rival was inside.
Jurors deliberated until 6:30 p.m. Thursday after hearing closing arguments about 3:30 p.m. They spent the night in a hotel and deliberated from 9:30 a.m. to 5:35 p.m. Friday. In the courtroom before the verdicts were announced, the Repchics linked arms as they sat, and Jacqueline Repchic, who lost a foot in the shooting, stood when the jury entered the room. She was told she did not have to stand but she said she wanted to.
Members of the Toney family were sobbing when it was announced he was guilty of murder. One of them was crying loudly and had to be assisted from the courtroom by family members.
Assistant Prosecutor Rebecca Doherty said she was happy with the verdict because Toney faces a long prison term and can spend the rest of his life there because there is a chance he can be denied parole.
“He was held responsible,” Doherty said.
McBride said in her statement that the family has been through a lot over the last four years and is now ready to move forward.
“The past four years have been extremely stressful for our family,” McBride said. “The duress, physically and emotionally, mentally and spiritually — one cannot even imagine.”
Co-defense counsel John Juhasz declined comment, saying he did not want to say anything before sentencing.
A co-defendant, Kevin Agee, 28, was convicted in 2012 for his role in the crime as the driver of a Dodge Durango that Toney borrowed from his cousin that was used in the shooting. Agee received a sentence of 41 years to life in prison for his role, but he refused to testify against Toney. Instead, a statement he made to family members while he was in a police interview room just after his arrest was played for the jury, an issue that almost certainly will be included in any appeal of Toney’s verdict.