Man gets 17 years for arson

A man found guilty by a jury this week of aggravated arson, felonious assault and abduction charges was sentenced Wednesday to a 17-year prison term.

Lloyd V. Hicks, 73, of Bellevue was found guilty Tuesday of two counts of felonious assault and one count each of aggravated arson and abduction for a fire and standoff at his North CR 29 home Sept. 5.

He was sentenced Wednesday by Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Shuff.

Seneca County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Boos had recommended Shuff sentence Hicks to 20 years. Boos said Hicks has shown no remorse for his actions and created an extreme risk for law enforcement and rescue personnel.

“Any sentence less of 20 years would demean the conduct of shooting at three police officers,” Boos told Shuff.

Boos said Donna Hicks, the estranged wife of Lloyd, has lost everything as a result of Lloyd’s actions. According to trial testimony this week, Lloyd assaulted Donna Sept. 5 and tried to drag her back into their residence as she tried to leave. Donna was able to free herself and drove to work, where she called police.

When law enforcement and firefighters arrived at the Hicks’ residence, the home was on fire and Lloyd was sitting in the backyard with a gun.

Lloyd fired shots at three law enforcement officers before surrendering, according to testimony.

“This was an argument that escalated. The parties were having marital difficulties and financial issues,” Hicks’ attorney, Jonathan Stotzer, said Wednesday. “Perhaps on impulse that day, my client acted.”

Stotzer told Shuff no matter the length of the sentence, it would essentially be a life sentence for Lloyd Hicks, who has health issues.

Stotzer also said Hicks can’t show remorse because he is innocent of the charges.

Lloyd Hicks, who did not testify during his trial, recounted the events of Sept. 5 during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.

He said his wife came home for lunch while he was mowing the lawn and, after getting into an argument outside of the house, she got in her car and left. Lloyd said Donna kicked him during the argument and fell into her vehicle as he tried to block her.

Lloyd said that while he was in the garage, he smelled gasoline and heard a boom before seeing fire in a hallway of the house. He grabbed his gun, he said, and ran to the back of the residence.

“I did it on sheer fright,” he said. “I ran to the chair and sat. And sitting there looking, saying to myself 23 years it took you to put this together and there it goes up in a ball of flames. And tears were running down my eyes.”

Lloyd also said he did not point his gun at police officers, insisting what they heard was ammunition exploding in the basement.

“The only place I was pointing it was under my chin,” Lloyd said of the gun.

He said he put the gun down when instructed by deputies.

“I had 500 scenarios as to what could have happened or what the intent may have been,” Lloyd said of the fire. “All I know is that when I went back in there, here comes the fire down the hallway.”

“This is a sad situation,” Shuff told Lloyd Hicks before sentencing him. “The evidence, though regardless of your statements, has been overwhelming.”

“I have long considered what would be appropriate after the verdict by the jury,” Shuff said. “And while sympathy at times may be overwhelming, this court cannot allow these crimes that you’ve been convicted of by a jury of your peers to not be punished.”

Hicks’ wife addressed the court before the sentence was announced.

“I will not let this tragedy define me,” she said. “I will move on with my life, but I will pray for you, Lloyd Hicks, that you will find forgiveness through our Lord.”

Shuff also ordered Lloyd Hicks to pay restitution of $92,415.07 to Donna Hicks.

Lloyd Hicks plans to appeal.