Nasser Hamad to serve at least 36 years

With his hands in shackles, convicted murderer Nasser Hamad of Howland scans the courtroom while giving his statement to the court before being sentenced Thursday by Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald Rice. Hamad will serve at least 36 years in prison for the shooting deaths of two people and wounding of three others outside his state Route 46 home. Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple

WARREN — Nasser Hamad was sentenced to 30-years-to-life in prison Thursday on two counts of murder for killing two people and wounding three others during a Feb. 25 shooting outside his home on state Route 46 in Howland.

Judge Ronald Rice followed the jury’s recommendation and denied the prosecution’s request that Hamad serve 30-year back-to-back sentences for the murders of Joshua Haber and Joshua Williams, which would have meant Hamad wouldn’t have been eligible for parole for 60 years. Hamad will serve six years in prison for firearms specifications before he starts the 30-year sentence, which means he won’t be eligible for parole for 36 years.

Rice said Hamad and those who went to his home to beat him participated in “relentless blather that would be too much for even the Jerry Springer show.” Rice said Hamad didn’t exercise a number of options that would have prevented the deaths, including blocking people on social media, staying in his house, calling police and not reloading his gun.

“While it is true that this event never would have happened if the 44-year-old driver of that minivan had even an ounce of common sense, it is equally true that your response to her poor judgment caused the death of two young people,” Rice said.

Hamad, who was shackled and wearing a suit and tie, showed no remorse. He blamed the victims’ parents for raising their children wrong, questioned the legal system and Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Becker’s motives, claimed his attorneys were incompetent and said evidence was withheld that would have proven his case.

“The truth will come out,” he said.

Numerous relatives of Williams addressed Hamad, including his mother, aunts, uncle and grandmother. MaryJo Hoso, a court victim witness advocate, read a statement from Williams’ mother, Kristen, that said since her son’s death she and her husband have experienced nightmares of their son “riddled in bullet holes and screaming for us to help him.”

“One will never know the heartache and pain that ravages your soul until you have lost a child and to lose him in such a violent way,” the statement read.

Bryan Patterson, Haber’s father, who lives in Florida, sent a letter saying his son’s death has left the entire family broken.

“That horrible day, our family would never be whole again and we struggle each and every day with the fact that we will never be able to see (him) or hear his voice again,” the letter stated.

Brian Hendrickson, whose son Bryce Hendrickson was shot and survived, only later to die from a suspected drug overdose, said his son didn’t overdose but actually committed suicide because he couldn’t deal with the loss of Williams, who was like a brother to him.

“He felt guilty and something was wrong with his mind,” Brian Hendrickson said. “I knew I lost him, and I tried every day — every day — to get him back.”