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Twinsburg -- More than four years after Ashford Thompson murdered Twinsburg Police Officer Joshua Miktarian, the last two people involved in the brutal shooting have been sentenced.
Danielle Roberson, Thompson's girlfriend at the time of the murder, and Bridget Robinson, Thompson's sister, were each sentenced Feb. 6 to two years probation and charged with $1,000 in fines and court costs by Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas Judge Daniel Gaul.
The women were convicted of one count each of attempted obstruction of justice. Additionally, Roberson received six months house arrest and six months suspended jail time, while Robinson received one year suspended jail time.
Charges of tampering with evidence were dropped prior to sentencing, according to Mike Stewart, public information coordinator with the court.
These were the maximum sentences allowed under the Ohio Revised Code.
Present at the sentencing was the slain officer's widow, Holly Miktarian, who said she had hoped to see more harsh punishments meted out, though the law has its limits.
"I think everyone would have liked to see a different sentence, but the judge had to go by what the law books state," Miktarian said. "I wasn't surprised that this was what they got ... I think we got as much justice as we can get in this situation. The judge can only give sentences that are appropriate to the charges."
Charles Morgan and Fernando Mack, Roberson's and Robinson's attorneys, respectively, did not return calls seeking comment.
Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Anna Faraglia, who oversaw the state's case against Roberson and Robinson, said the sentence was appropriate given the charges and the criminal records of the two women.
"With regards to the sentencing, I think the judge did what was fair," Faraglia said.
Mayor Katherine Procop said a harsher sentence was called for, given the women's roles in the murder.
"While I am very pleased that the Cuyahoga County prosecutor took action to hold these women accountable for their crimes, the sentencing is disappointing," Procop said in an email to the Twinsburg Bulletin. "I don't think there is any punishment that can comfort or ease the loss that Josh's family and our community has suffered, but surely a stronger sentence would have been an action of support for Holly, and for Josh's family, friends and police officers everywhere.
"At the very least, it is on the record that Roberson and Robinson will forever be responsible for the parts they played in the murder of one of the finest officers and human beings that we have known," Procop added.
With Thompson currently on death row at Chillicothe Correctional Institution and the accomplices who aided and sheltered him sentenced, Miktarian said she feels a degree of closure.
"I think that Josh can rest a little bit easier now that they have finally been sentenced and held accountable for their parts that they played that morning," Holly said. "I feel like some more weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm happy that it's over with."
Twinsburg Police Chief Chris Noga echoed the sentiment, stating during the sentencing that the Twinsburg community still suffers from the wounds inflicted by the July 2008 murder.
"Today is the day that Danielle Roberson and Bridget Robinson will be held accountable for their individual actions on that terrible night," Noga said in his victim's impact statement, which he offered at the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas before the sentencing. "Ms. Roberson and Ms. Robinson participated in a heinous crime -- the most heinous crime in our society -- the murder of a human being. We lost a great police officer on July 13, 2008, but, more importantly, we lost a great husband, father, son, colleague and friend and we never want to lose sight of that.
"I am glad that all persons involved in the death of Officer Joshua Miktarian have been held accountable," Noga added, posting on his department's Facebook page following the murder.
Faraglia added that she felt those impacted by the case can rest assured that the responsible parties have been dealt with.
"My true feeling is that the family and the Twinsburg Police Department finally have a bit of closure," Faraglia said. "It's never going to be right and people sometimes are not punished the way we want them to be punished, but in this particular case, everybody's actions have been accounted for."
During her statement at the sentencing, Miktarian directly addressed Roberson and Robinson, calling out their actions on the night of her husband's murder. She said she believed Robinson acted out of concern for her brother, although those actions were ultimately criminal.
"I just told [Robinson] that I can understand he's a family member and she wanted to help him but she made that decision to help him as an adult and that's why she's here today," Holly said in court Feb. 6.
Roberson, however, found no sympathy forthcoming from Holly Miktarian.
"As far as [Roberson], I told her that I feel Josh is dead because of her," Holly said. "I honestly feel with all my heart that she distracted him enough to miss [Thompson] reaching for his gun. She got out of the car during a traffic stop. You're not supposed to do that and she did it anyway. I hold her accountable. She didn't pull the trigger but I still hold her accountable."
As she closed her statement to the women being sentenced, she shared a painful personal detail about how the night of July 13, 2008, irreversibly changed her life, reminding all those present of the dear cost paid by police officers on a daily basis.
"My little girl has to go to a cemetery to sing Happy Birthday to her dad," Holly said. "I want you to think about that."
She said the ordeal will not be truly over until Thompson's execution, which has not yet been scheduled.
"I know that that's just a long way off," Holly said. "When that's done, it's really done, but until then, we have that ahead of us. Unfortunately, that's what we have to do next. I think when that's done, I'll feel more as if justice was served, it just seems like there's always one more step to go."