CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A man who pleaded guilty of murdering his girlfriend last May was sentenced in Lake County Common Pleas Court at 8:30 a.m. today.
After more than an hour of statements from Russell Fritz’s family, impact statements from the family of the victim, Kristen Laux, Judge John O’Donnell addressed the court.
“I take into consideration everything about this case,” O’Donnell said, then imposed a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Russell Fritz was convicted of killing Kristen Laux, 35, at their Mentor home.
Fritz, handcuffed in court, described his relationship with Laux as magical.
“It was magical,” Fritz said.
Fritz appeared to read from a paper he pulled from his pocket.
Fritz suggested Laux had a drinking problem.
“What happened, I didn’t want to happen,” Fritz said.
During the sentencing Judge John O’Donnell questioned Fritz about the details of the fight that ended Laux’s life.
“She hits you,” Judge O’Donnell asked?
“I snapped and started hitting her back,” Fritz said.
Following statements of support for Fritz that described him as “soft, compassionate and trapped in a cycle,” Laux’s family made victim impact statements.
I plead," said a member of Laux’s family. “He opted to end her very existence... the destruction to my family can not be undone.” The same family member asked for the maximum sentence.
“Russell Fritz is not worthy of being called a man...” Laux’s mother’s statement said. “It makes me sad that the last thing she saw was his face.”
After the statement was made, Laux’s mother left the courtroom.
“You stabbed at her at least 13 times,” Judge O’Donnell told Fritz. He reminded Fritz, “you know what you did, because you told the 911 operator."
“That finality was avoidable,” the judge said, “it didn’t have to occur, but it did.”
Then the judge imposed the life sentence, also ordering $12,000 in restitution.
Fritz called Mentor police on May 17, 2018 and admitted he just killed Laux, during a domestic argument.
Fritz said Laux bit him, so he started assaulting her.
Officers responded to the couple’s home in the 8300 block of South Villa Marina Court and found Laux suffering from a fatal stab wound.