A Troy man and his girlfriend were sentenced to prison terms Tuesday for their roles in the 2015 death of the woman’s grandfather at his Tipp City home.
Richard Terrel was sentenced to to 15 years in prison in the beating death of William York Sr., 88. Hope Earnshaw-York of Tipp City was sentenced to three years on charges from attempting to help cover up the murder.
Terrel, 37, and Earnshaw-York, 25, will receive credit for 547 days served in the Miami County Jail since their June 3, 2015, arrests in York’s death.
Tipp City police said York was reported missing by family members in late May 2015. His granddaughter and Terrel lived with him in the weeks before his disappearance.
York’s remains were found June 3, 2015, in a Kentucky creek.
Terrel faced up to 18 years in prison following a plea deal in which a murder indictment was dismissed and replaced with felony voluntary manslaughter. He pleaded guilty to that charge along with tampering with evidence, gross abuse of a corpse, felonious assault and two counts of receiving stolen property.
Earnshaw-York pleaded no contest and was found guilty of gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and three counts of receiving stolen property.
A lack of forensic evidence caused by a scrubbing of the crime scene and Earnshaw-York’s refusal to cooperate with prosecutors after initial statements contributed to Terrel’s plea deal, county Prosecutor Tony Kendell said during and after the separate sentencing hearings before Judge Christopher Gee.
“The judge did what he could do. This has been problematic from day one,” Kendell said of the case. Four people were present when William York Sr. was struck in the back of the head – the defendants, a three year old and Mr. York, he said.
“They had uninterrupted access to the crime scenes. They cleaned it with ammonia, bleach and other cleaning agents that just decimated any forensic evidence,” Kendell said. “None of us are happy about the turn of events.”
Terrel said there was nothing he could do to change what had happened. “I would just like to apologize for any actions I had in this matter,” he said.
“I want to make clear this was not some premeditated crime,” Earnshaw-York said, adding the actions were “drug fueled.”
She called herself a “coward” for not intervening when her grandfather, who family members called “Pop,” was attacked. Earnshaw-York said her lack of response was out of concern for her two year old child and one she was carrying at more than seven months into pregnancy.
Gee heard statements from several members of the York family during both sentencing hearings. Several talked of William York Sr.’s attempt to help Terrel and their attempts to convince Earnshaw-York to end her relationship with Terrel.
The receiving stolen property charges stemmed from the theft of rifles from York’s home.
“This was a gutless act by a gutless individual,” Bill York Jr. said during Terrel’s sentencing.
Sharon York, mother of Hope Earnshaw-York, said William York Sr. and her daughter both were vulnerable and “both paying a terrible price for it.”
Gee said Terrel had a long criminal history, showed no remorse and exhibited “brutal depravity” in his conduct.”
The judge said Earnshaw-York claimed she was protecting her children, yet was using heroin while pregnant and caring for a two year old. “It is beyond dispute your conduct after the murder of Mr. York is shocking and deplorable,” Gee said.