Public indecency, carjacking and menacing lead to 15-year sentence for man convicted of Cleveland crime spree

Clifford Gillespie (Source: Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department)
Clifford Gillespie (Source: Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department)(Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department)
Published: Aug. 26, 2020 at 8:41 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley announced that Clifford Gillespie, 44, was sentenced to 15 to 16 ½ years in prison for a violent crime spree that occurred within a three-hour timespan in April 2019.

“This one-man wrecking crew endangered the lives of numerous victims during his violent crime spree,” O’Malley said in a prepared statement. “We are all much safer without this criminal running rampant through our streets.”

On April 28, 2019, Gillespie carjacked an 83-year-old woman at gunpoint in a church parking lot near East 83rd Street and Quincy Avenue. He approached her vehicle, banged on her windows, and demanded her car keys while threatening to kill her. After the victim exited her vehicle, he took her keys and drove away, according to court records.

Shortly after, Gillespie drove the stolen car to a laundromat near East 63rd Street and Fleet Avenue. The defendant began fondling himself in the parking lot in front of a woman, 27, and her cousin. After she told him to stop, he verbally threatened her life and retrieved a gun from the stolen car. He pointed the gun at the victim as he approached her. She ran to the back of the laundromat and called police before Gillespie fled the scene in the vehicle.

Cleveland police then spotted the stolen vehicle and attempted to pull him over near East 74th Street and Harvard Avenue.

Gillespie refused and a brief pursuit ensued before he jumped out of the car and ran into a wooded area near East 79th Street. and Holton Avenue.

He hid inside a tent as officers with CPD and Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Police gave several commands to surrender. Gillespie refused and made another attempt to flee as he ran toward East 83rd Street before pointing his gun at responding officers.

Officers opened fire and Gillespie was struck twice in the leg and arm. Officers administered first aid before EMS arrived and took him to a nearby hospital where he received treatment and was subsequently arrested.

He pleaded guilty to the following charges:

• One count of Aggravated Robbery

• Five counts of Felonious Assault

• Two counts of Having Weapons Under Disability

• Two counts of Aggravated Menacing

• One count of Public Indecency

He was sentenced under “The Reagan Tokes Law,” which implements an indefinite sentencing system for non-life felonies of the first and second-degree in which the judge imposes both a minimum term (from the current sentencing range) and a maximum term (that includes an additional 50% of the minimum term imposed). The Ohio Department of Corrections will review the case and Gillespie’s behavior after he has served 15 years and will make a determination as to whether he should be released.

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