Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Suburban Toledo man gets 40 years for rape of estranged wife during standoff

A suburban Toledo, OH man was sentenced to 40 years in prison yesterday for a hostage standoff where he held and raped his then estranged, now ex-wife, Barbara at gunpoint for six hours. After a two day trial, Michael Sweirgosz, 47, was convicted of three counts of kidnapping, one count of felonious assault, two counts of rape, one count of aggravated burglary, and a count of weapon posession while under felony indictment.

The convictions stem from an incident April 28 in which he held his victim hostage for several hours during a standoff with police that shut down a local retirement village and schools in the area.

Nine witnesses testified during the trial, including Swiergosz's ex-wife and Swiergosz himself. The evidence showed that Swiergosz armed himself with a stolen 9mm pistol and went to the Sunset Retirement Communities on Indian Road where his then-estranged wife was employed.

About 50 police officers responded to the scene, and Swiergosz kept them at bay for about six hours. He released his ex-wife after more than five hours and gave himself up about 30 minutes later.

During the trial, Swiergosz said that the purpose of his entry onto his estranged wife's workplace was to get answers to a long list of questions, and a desire to be with his kids. He admitted that he brought the gun with him and had sex, but claimed the gun was there as a prop and the sex was consensual.

Before sentencing, he said, "I lived my life as a good person and a faithful husband and a good father for 46+ years. I let all of what happened get the best of me. For that I am truly sorry. All I want is for the opportunity to be a father again."

The victim said she still has images of blood dripping down her body as her now ex-husband raped and was threatening to kill her.

The Swiergosz's were married for 14 years before the attack last year. Their four kids are 17, 12, 8 and 1. On March 10, 2009, police were called to their home for a domestic violence incident which turned into a standoff. This incident started as an argument and escalated after he fired twice at Barbara, who escaped. Their 7 year old daughter witnessed the incident in a van. Barbara left and took the kids with her after the first standoff. Judge Alan Mayberry of Wood County Common Pleas Court sentenced Sweirgosz to seven years for the standoff, inculding a year in a plea to burglary of the gun used in the April 28 incident from an acquaintance's home. Judge Denise Ann Dart's sentence will run consecutive to Judge Mayberry's sentence.

Judge Dart told the perpetrator, "It's clear you are very disturbed," and said that he had no regard for his kids only for himself.

Prosecutor Dean Mandrose said, "I think the judge recognized that he has an obsession - fixation on his ex-wife and that he twice subjected her to very traumatic incidents where she was physically injured." The victim said she still has images of blood dripping down her body as her now ex-husband raped and was threatening to kill her.

Swiergosz plans to appeal. If he gets out (highly unlikely because Ohio sentences have no good time reductions), he must register for the rest of his life as a Tier 3 sex offender.

No comments: