William A. West
GENEVA_Tommy Richter, 49, of 1631 Pleasantview Dr., Ashtabula, was arraigned on two murder charges via video from Ashtabula County Jail Monday afternoon before Western County Court Judge David Schroeder. The unclassified felony charges are aggravated murder and murder. Richter is charged with stabbing 82-year-old Mary F. Martinchuk to death March 30 in her 1868 Sexton Road home in Austinburg Township.
Richter told Judge Schroeder that he plans to plead guilty to the murder charges so he doesn’t know what good it would do to have a lawyer. Schroeder told Richter that the Court would appoint him a lawyer. Judge Schroeder granted Ashtabula County Assistant Prosecutor Gene Barrett’s request to set Richter’s bail at $1 million cash or surety.
“The arrest was made as a result of the outstanding work of the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department,” Nicholas Iarocci, Ashtabula County Prosecutor, said. “After hitting several roadblocks over the past several months, the ASCO never lost hope and kept working on the case.”
The suspect’s fingerprints were not in the law enforcement records because he did not have a criminal record.
“Based on the evidence obtained by the ASCO, my office is confident that such evidence proves Mr. Richter is the person that murdered Mary Martinchuk,” Iarocci said.
A reliable source who chooses to remain anonymous says Richter was a nice guy and you would never think that he would do something like that.
“It’s really scary that he has been in my home, around my kids,” the person said. “I know he worked hard and went through a divorce. He did smoke crack cocaine at times, but not all the time or every day. I thought he was a real nice guy.”
The Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department and the Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office spent several hours at a homicide crime scene Sunday in Austinburg Township. Mary F. Martinchuk, 82, was found dead in her home by a neighbor checking on Martinchuk’s well-being.
Crime tape surrounded the scene at 1868 Sexton Road between Route 307 and Clay Street. It appears that the crime happened inside the home. Few details are being released and further information will be made available Monday according to a Sheriff’s Department spokesman. The Coroner’s Office chief investigator stated he will be releasing information Monday.
Austinburg is about five miles southwest of Ashtabula.
Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office Chief investigator Richard Mongell said Tuesday that Mary F. Martinchuk, 82, of 1868 Sexton Road, Austinburg, died from exsanguination, the loss of blood as the result of suffering multiple stab wounds.
Dr. Pamela Lancaster, Ashtabula County Coroner, had earlier ruled the death of Martinchuk to be a homicide. Martinchuk’s body was found on her kitchen floor by a neighbor checking on Martinchuk’s well-being Sunday morning, March 30.