TROY, Ohio (WDTN) — A judge Tuesday sentenced a Miami County man to 18 years-to-life in prison for murder and other charges.
Randy Freels will serve a mandatory 18 sentence after his conviction for murdering his wife Samantha Freels. He will not be eligible for parole before serving the first 18 years of the sentence.
Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeannine Pratt sentenced Freels on Murder, Felonious Assault and Tampering with Evidence charges. The charges carry a firearm specification.
The family of Samantha Freels testified before the judge made her ruling Tuesday morning. The victim’s father, daughter and daughter-in-law all spoke, asking the judge to impose a life sentence.
Authorities found Samantha Freels dead inside a vehicle on January 12, 2018. The car was crashed into a creek.
Judge Pratt found Randy Freels guilty at a hearing on May 31, 2018, when Freels entered a no contest plea on all charges.
Prosecutor Anthony Kendell said during the May 31st hearing the state had a variety of witnesses plus deputy cruiser dash cam video that placed Freels at the scene. Witnesses said they saw Samantha Freels help Randy Freels into her vehicle after he ran off the road in his truck into an embankment on the snowy road. Later, witnesses found Samantha Freels’ red car off the side of the road in a creek as Randy Freels walked away, hiding the Bursa .380 handgun in the area of the accident. Evidence also included gun residue on Freels’ coat and other evidence.
During the May 31st hearing, public defense attorney Jack Hemm said his client did not object to the state’s facts of the case and Freels proceeded with entering a no contest plea.
Freels was found competent to stand trial earlier in May.
Miami County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report of a car off the side of the road during poor road conditions in the area of Elleman Road and West State Route 55 in Union Township on Jan. 12. Units on the scene advised the victim was not breathing. Samantha Freels’ vehicle was located in a creek, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. A deputy noticed a bullet hole in the trunk of the car. Medics at the scene found a bullet wound while attempting to treat Samantha Freels.
Randy Freels was later apprehended by the Special Response Team at his home in the 2000 block of Rangeline Road.
Following Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, prosecutors praised law enforcement for their efforts to take Randy Freels into custody. The prosecutor said Freels was heavily armed and intoxicated when he was arrested. Freels had reportedly threatened that he would not be taken alive, but law enforcement took him into custody without incident.
Freels is also facing an assault charge from his time in jail, while awaiting trial.