CROWN POINT — After denying a dozen muddled legal motions filed by a pro se murder defendant, a judge told the man Friday he was callous and cold and sentenced him to 72 years in prison.
Ronald Menzie, 42, was convicted of murder, criminal recklessness and a criminal firearm enhancement July 12 for fatally shooting 30-year-old Broderick Harbin on March 11, 2018, as he sat at a woman's kitchen table in the 2100 block of Carolina Street in Gary.
Menzie, a relative of the woman's children, shot Harbin in the face and chest as the woman and Harbin argued, records say. The shooting occurred as the woman's barbecue and card party was winding down.
Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez patiently went through each of Menzie's motions, telling Menzie some of his arguments made no sense. Menzie repeatedly objected, raising the same arguments over and over again.
Harbin's family sat in the gallery, listening until Vasquez said they would proceed to sentencing.
Kristen Jenkins, Harbin's sister, she never cried so hard as she did the day her brother was killed.
Shortly before her brother's death, she had become worried about him and her mother. She had been calling their apartment and getting no answer.
She left her home in Nashville, Tennessee, and was driving toward Gary when Harbin called her back and assured her they were OK, she said.
"I didn't come. I went off the strength of your word," she said. "I blame myself still to this day. I should have come."
Their mother died one year ago, about five months after her son, Jenkins said. The family thinks she died of a broken heart.
Broderick Harbin was killed in the apartment next to hers, said Qiana Harbin, Broderick Harbin's cousin.
"She had to relive it every day as she walked out of her apartment," she said.
Qiana Harbin said she adopted her cousin's son, who was 10 years old when his father was murdered.
"His son will never see his dad again," she said. "His life will never been the same."
She said she tells her cousin in her prayers that she will raise his son the best she can, but she also thinks about the senseless violence that has led to so many deaths in the community.
"As I speak, it's happening to someone else," she said. "It's like it never ends. Never.
"I pray that one day on this earth, that everybody, not just me and not just you, but everybody, that we will come to peace and it will stop."
Menzie said he sent his condolences to the family, but denied he killed Harbin. He said the people who testified against him may have been the killers, but they were allowed to walk out of the courtroom.
"There's two lives lost," he said, referring to Harbin and himself.
He said he would pray for forgiveness, including for the family who "presumed" he was guilty.
Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Keith Anderson asked Vaquez to sentence Menzie to 80 years in prison.
Menzie's sentencing was delayed earlier this month after Menzie said some of the crimes listed in a presentence report didn't involve him. Anderson said he called authorities in Minnesota to obtain booking photos for the disputed charges, and they clearly showed Menzie.
"So, he lied," Anderson said. "He's a pathological liar. That is the character of Mr. Menzie."
Menzie asked for a suspended sentence.
Before pronouncing Menzie's sentence, Vasquez asked him if he wanted the judge to appoint an attorney to help him with an appeal.
"Yes," Menzie said.
Outside court, Jenkins said the sentence would be tough but Menzie deserved it.
Broderick Harbin's aunt Sheila Harbin said, "No matter what we say, he's still gone, and we're not going to get him back."
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