Life sentence given following guilty plea to stabbing death

LISBON – Telling Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike he would take it back if he could, Robert Harmony on Monday pleaded guilty to murder in the stabbing death of Gerrod Lanzendorfer.

Harmony was sentenced immediately to an indefinite term of 15 years to life in prison.

Through tears, Harmony told members of Lanzendorfer’s family in the courtroom he was “truly sorry for what happened.”

“I know it sounds cliche, but I am truly sorry. I hurt two families and a whole lot of people and I can’t take it back,” Harmony said, adding he would trade places with Lanzendorfer if he could.

Although there were a number of Lanzendorfer’s family members in the courtroom, Gerald Lanzendorfer was the only one who addressed the court and Harmony prior to sentencing.

The victim’s father pointed out while he believes the judicial system is the best one available, he was still unsatisfied knowing that in 15 years he still would not be able to see his son.

“You think you killed a young Marine and that it is something to go to prison with bragging rights,” Lanzendorfer said. “You killed a young boy.”

Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones said Gerrod Lanzendorfer, 23, of Washingtonville, died after Harmony stabbed him no fewer than 15 times. The stabbing occurred just north of Fernangle’s on Broadway in Salem in the early morning hours of Nov. 19, 2013.

Lanzendorfer was found dead in the street. Harmony walked the short distance to the Salem police department right after the incident.

“It’s a totally senseless act,” Pike said as he sentenced Harmony.

Pike also denied a request by one of Harmony’s defense attorneys, Fred Naragon, who asked that the nine months Harmony is currently serving for a domestic violence charge be allowed to run concurrently. Jones noted the two charges are not related and Pike agreed to run the sentences consecutively.

Naragon also asked Pike to consider sending Harmony to another facility instead of the Lorain Correctional Center due to potential issues between Harmony and Quinton Lewis, who was also sentenced to 15 to life in prison last week after he pleaded guilty to an unrelated murder. Pike left the placement of Harmony up to discretion of the Ohio Department of Corrections.

After the hearing Jones thanked the Salem police force and the county homicide task force for their hard work on the case.

While Lanzendorfer’s family was informed about the plea agreement and satisfied with the resolution, Jones also noted, “the criminal justice system can never heal that emotional pain.”