BREAKING NEWS: Trimble sentenced to death

Court upholds jury’s recommendation

Judge John Enlow sentenced James E. Trimble to death by lethal injection on three aggravated murder counts today in the Portage County Court of Common Pleas, upholding the jury’s Nov. 8 decision.

Enlow read each count of the indictment and found that the aggravated circumstances outweighed mitigating circumstances for all nine counts. He set the execution date for Nov. 15, 2006.

Trimble also was sentenced to confinement by the Ohio Department of Corrections for varying terms for the remaining six counts.

Before the final sentencing occurred, several people had a chance to speak. Victim impact statements were given by family of the deceased, and Trimble had the opportunity to address Enlow.

“Everyone has blamed all these court proceedings on me,” Trimble said. “I wanted to plead guilty and get the death penalty to begin with.”

He said this trial was used by Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci as a political arena, spending the county’s money. Trimble continued to explain that he didn’t want the families to go through the pain of trial.

Trimble looked sternly at the prosecution table while accusing Vigluicci of being present at 22-year-old Sarah Postiano’s Ranfield Road apartment on the night of Jan. 21, participating in police intervention.

“You were there. You should be ashamed. Why didn’t you tell the truth?” Trimble said. “You were controlling the whole situation that night.”

Trimble continued, explaining his allegations against Vigluicci, which caused an outburst from spectators in the court room.

Trimble said the police lied about beating him up and that the prosecution’s witnesses also lied on the stand.

He also accused Jerry W. Bauer, father of Dakota, 7, of trying to destroy his relationship with Renee, 42, and of using and selling methamphetamines.

Trimble apologized to the families and said he would have changed things if he could.

“The families all talk about their pain,” Trimble said. “They want my mother to have the same pain. My mother is as innocent as Sarah Positano. She wasn’t no where around.”

Families’ Pain

The Bauer and Positano families gave statements to the packed courtroom, which was filled with other family members, jurors, media and friends.

Renee’s sister Rhonda Didado spoke first.

“The word impact does not begin to describe what has happened to our lives over the past 10 months,” she said. “He was a big man to kill two women and a boy, yet too big of a coward to kill himself when he had the opportunity.”

Janice Klippel, Renee’s mother, sobbed through her statement with her husband by her side.

Klippel said Trimble asked the jury to let him live, so he could help others.

“Instead of getting help, he chose to murder my daughter, Dakota and Sarah,” she said to the also crying crowd. “Drugs didn’t destroy his life, Jim did. The hate I have for this man, I will take to my grave.”

Dakota’s father, Jerry, had promised his son that he would never let anyone hurt him.

“That was a big let down, huh?”

Tammy Welch, Dakota’s aunt, said Dakota touched so many lives, but now because of a monster, hearts are broken beyond repair.

Stan Denault, Postiano’s uncle and representative for the family during the trial, said the family didn’t come to previous court proceedings because Sarah was not on trial, Trimble was. Today was the family’s day in court, he said.

“Today the healing process starts,” Denault said. “We would have liked to have a sibling be present, but I don’t know if we could have one of them see the smirk on the defendant’s face.”

His daughter Shari, 21, wrote and read the eulogy for Postiano’s funeral. She read it again in court this morning to show who Positano was as a person, not just a murder victim or a scared voice on a 911 tape.

Positano’s mother, Susan, said this experience is like living through a daily nightmare.

“He (Trimble) said he did not know Sarah, but he knew her parents’ loved her. What the f— do you think?” she said looking to the jury box where Trimble sat. “This bastard sitting behind me says he loves his mother. This whole wretched time has been spent catering to his perverted needs for himself.”

Enlow ordered her to address her comments to the court, not the defendant.

Positano’s father, James, spoke briefly. He said he knew how his daughter had died, but did not know why.

“There is a coward amongst us that preys amongst women and children,” he said. “I only hope the last hour of his life is spent in the shear horror that Sarah spent hers. I hope he never forgets my face, and I hope he never has peace.”

He crinkled the paper he held in his hands as he walked away.

Some of the jurors were in attendance, and some had relieved looks on their faces as Enlow upheld the decision they recommended last week.

Family members thanked them as the proceedings came to an end.

Trimble has 30 days from today to appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Contact public affairs reporters Kimberly Dick at [email protected] and Bethany Jones at [email protected].