Shawn Hope also gets life for shooting death, kidnapping
By Samantha Phillips
Kathy Kellar said after Shawn Hope fatally shot her stepson nearly two years ago, he said, “Who’s the b---- now?”
Kellar turned to Hope and asked him the same question while she gave her victim-impact statement just before Hope was sentenced Tuesday morning.
Judge Andrew Logan of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court sentenced Hope, convicted of murder in the shooting death of John Kellar, 41, of Niles in December 2016, to life in prison with eligibility of parole after 44 years, when he is 95 years old. A jury found him guilty on all charges April 12.
Hope, 51, shot Kellar twice in the chest in a home on Stephens Avenue Northwest and then kidnapped Kellar’s fiancee, Tabitha Powell, 23, and Alicia Binion, 37, whose father owned the Warren house.
The judge also sentenced Hope on charges of kidnapping, aggravated robbery, tampering with evidence and being a felon in illegal possession of a firearm.
Hope pleaded with the judge, saying the ordeal has been hard on him mentally. He claimed he shot Kellar in self-defense.
Chris Becker, assistant county prosecutor, said, however, Hope’s actions the night of the shooting, especially fleeing to another state, contradict that statement. The judge agreed.
Hope told the judge he wishes he could have stayed away longer because he felt “everything was being pushed on him” after authorities caught him and brought him back to Warren.
A victim advocate read a statement from Powell. She lost the love of her life and best friend because of Hope’s actions, she wrote.
“He meant everything to me,” she wrote. “I wonder how someone is capable of doing something so cold-hearted and senseless.”
She said it doesn’t matter how long Hope serves in prison.
“John’s gone,” she said. “You get to breathe, and he doesn’t,” she wrote.
Kathy Kellar cried as she spoke about how Hope took Kellar away from her.
“It might get easier as time goes by, but that feeling will never be forgotten. It’s like someone put their fist in our chest and pulled out a piece of our hearts, leaving an empty hole,” she said tearfully. “How can someone be so callous?”
Judge Logan told the court Hope is a habitual predator, citing his extensive prior criminal record.
“You are a danger to society. You must be taken off the streets to protect the public,” he said.