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Prison time added for wife killer

Hubbard man gets three more years for ‘worst form’ of domestic violence

Francis “Jerry” Rydarowicz, left, stands with his attorney, Walter Ritchie, on Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, where Rydarowicz got another three years added to his prison sentence for killing his wife, for violating the terms of his probation on a domestic violence charge from 2018. The judge called it “the worst kind of offense.” Staff photo / Ed Runyan

YOUNGSTOWN — Judges sometimes say they are giving a convict the longest sentence allowed because the defendant committed the “worst form of the offense.”

It was a no-brainer Wednesday for Judge Anthony D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to find that true for Francis “Jerry” Rydarowicz.

D’Apolito sentenced Rydarowicz to three additional years in prison for violating the terms of his probation on a 2018 felony domestic violence conviction.

Rydarowicz’s violation? Being convicted of killing his wife, Katherine Rydarowicz, 41, two weeks after he left the Mahoning County jail, having served several months in jail on the domestic violence conviction. That domestic-violence offense was for punching his wife in the nose about 10 months before he killed her.

Rydarowicz agreed during the hearing that he had violated the terms of his probation by being convicted last month of killing Katherine.

“The court finds that the maximum sentence is necessary … because the defendant committed the worst form of the offense, he posed a great likelihood of committing future crimes, and a shorter sentence would demean the seriousness of the offense and would not adequately protect the public,” D’Apolito said.

Judge Anthony Donofrio, also of common pleas court, sentenced Rydarowicz to 15 years to life in prison after a jury found him guilty of murder and other offenses against his wife.

D’Apolito ordered the three years on the probation violation be served in addition to the 15 years to life — for a new total of 18 years to life.

Rydarowicz, 50, of Hubbard, was convicted of shooting his wife to death June 22, 2019, outside of the King’s Motel on U.S. Route 422 in Coitsville Township.

The domestic violence conviction stemmed from a dispute 10 months before the killing — Aug. 25, 2018 — in which he punched Katherine in the nose outside of their home on Aldrich Road in Austintown.

An Austintown police report states that Katherine called Austintown police twice that night. She called at 1:49 a.m. to say she was afraid to enter her home because her husband was inside and intoxicated. Officers responded to the home and spoke to the couple but did not require either party to leave.

At 3:02 a.m., she called again, this time saying he had punched her in the face. Officers saw that Katherine’s neck was slightly red, and there was fresh blood coming from one of her nostrils. Her husband was taken to jail.

Rydarowicz was charged and later indicted on felony domestic violence. The charge was elevated to a felony because of a previous domestic violence conviction.

He was convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence in 2016 in Girard Municipal Court when he lived on Mount Everett Road in Hubbard Township, according to court documents. That offense was committed against a different woman.

Rydarowicz pleaded guilty to felony domestic violence before D’Apolito on Jan. 7, 2019, for punching Katherine in the nose, and D’Apolito sentenced him March 20, 2019, to three years of probation and six months in the Mahoning County jail with credit for about 3 1/2 months already served in jail.

Part of his sentence was to be on electronically monitored house arrest for 60 days after he left jail, submit to random drug and alcohol testing, have anger management counseling, receive marriage counseling and complete the Batterer’s Intervention Program.

Rydarowicz’s sentencing documents stated that if he violated the terms of his probation, he could get up to three years in prison. He left the county jail June 5, 2019, according to court records.

On June 22, 2019 — two weeks after being released from the jail — he was arrested in Katherine’s death.

Rydarowicz did not offer a statement prior to sentencing Wednesday. His attorney, Walter Ritchie, said his client disagrees with the guilty verdict the jury returned in the murder case and is appealing the verdict.

Many of the same members of Katherine’s family who attended the murder trial attended Wednesday’s sentencing, but none of them spoke in court.

errunyan@vindy.com

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