Man convicted in New Year’s Eve slayings gets life sentence

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man convicted in the fatal shootings of a father and his two teenage children during a home invasion robbery on New Year’s Eve 2013 was sentenced Wednesday to three life sentences without the possibility of parole.

A Summit County judge handed down the sentence after jurors recommended last month that Eric Hendon, 33, receive life behind bars without parole rather than the death penalty. The judge could have sentenced the Akron man to life with a parole possibility.

Hendon was convicted of aggravated murder, attempted murder and related offenses after authorities alleged he shot John Kohler, 42, and Kohler’s 18-year-old stepdaughter, Ashley Carpenter, and 14-year-old son, David Kohler-Carpenter at their Barberton home. Kohler’s girlfriend, Rhonda Blankenship, was shot in the face and lost her left eye in the attack. The gunfire happened during an attempted marijuana theft, authorities said.

Blankenship called Hendon a monster and testified that she hoped he would be sentenced to death.

“You don’t deserve to be sitting here breathing,” Blankenship told Hendon in court. “You deserve to be put to death. . You took my family’s life away.”

Dan Stephens, Ashley Carpenter’s father, told Hendon in court he hopes Hendon suffers the way his family has.

“I don’t forgive and forget,” Stephens said. “I hope you have the same bad dreams that I have every night.”

Hendon didn’t speak during the hearing because he intends to appeal the case, defense attorney Brian Pierce said.

Hendon’s brother, Michael, faced the death penalty in the case but was ruled mentally unfit for execution. He was convicted of complicity to aggravated murder and sentenced to life behind bars without parole.