Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Boyles gets 13 years in ex-girlfriend's death

'You will face God,' father of Sara Ridder tells defendant

By Sharon Turco
The Cincinnati Enquirer

An enraged father stared at William Boyles as the 27-year-old man was sentenced Monday to spend 13 years in prison in the slaying of Sara Ridder, a 911 dispatcher and mother of three.

Pam and Peter Ridder, parents of shooting victim Sara Ridder, look at William Boyles as they make a statement during Mr. Boyles' sentencing.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
"I know in the end you will face God," said Pete Ridder, a retired Cincinnati police sergeant and former president of the Fraternal Order of Police, through clenched teeth. "There will be no plea bargains with Him."

More than a dozen of Ms. Ridder's friends and family members in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court room watched the emotional scene, many in tears, others nodding their heads.

All wore a picture of Ms. Ridder pinned to their chests.

Pam Ridder, Ms. Ridder's mother, also spoke to Mr. Boyles, but more sadness than anger tinged her voice as she talked about how much she misses her daughter.

"If it was my decision, he'd go to prison for the rest of his life," Mrs. Ridder said. "(Those children) will have to come to grips not only with a mother who was murdered, but with the fact that their father was responsible."

Sara Ridder
At that, Gina Boyles, Mr. Boyles' sister, left the courtroom. His mother remained in the sea of teary faces, quiet and still.

Ms. Ridder met Mr. Boyles when she was 18, and their relationship was increasingly turbulent as the years went on.

She got pregnant by him at 19. By age 22, she was a single mother of three.

At the time of her death, the 24-year-old Cincinnati police dispatcher had broken off her relationship with Mr. Boyles and was taking steps to avoid him, including a temporary protection order and a having personal safety monitor in her home.

Both were in place when she was shot to death through the closed door of her Westwood apartment April 15. .

Police knew it wasn't Mr. Boyles who fired the fatal shot, but they always believed he played a role in her death - charging him with complicity to aggravated murder.

At the time of Ms. Ridder's death, Mr. Boyles was awaiting trial on charges of domestic violence and burglary, and he was wearing an electronic monitoring device. The device showed he was nowhere near Ms. Ridder's apartment when she was killed.

Mr. Boyles was due to appear in court on the day Ms. Ridder was shot.

Last month, Mr. Boyles agreed to tell police who pulled the trigger in exchange for the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, which would carry the 13-year prison sentence.

Michael Neely, 27, of Bellevue, was indicted Friday on a charge of aggravated murder, accused of firing the fatal shot. He and Mr. Boyles were friends and lived together in Price Hill, according to Cincinnati Police Sgt. Joe Priestle. He'll be arraigned later this week.

Mr. Boyles told authorities he suspected Mr. Neely fired the fatal shot, Assistant Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier said during sentencing.

Mr. Boyles said he had often spoke to Mr. Neely about his desire to kill Ms. Ridder and believes Mr. Neely acted on his own in carrying out his wish, Mr. Piepmeier said. The assistant prosecutor declined to comment about whether he believes Mr. Boyles.

Pam Ridder said it was tough to face Mr. Boyles in the courtroom, but that she felt she "needed to do that for Sara. We miss Sara every day and she'll never be back with us."

E-mail sturco@enquirer.com

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