by Kyle Swenson
He'll spend seven years in jail.
The mother who let her 17-month-old son suffer and die from the chemical fumes in an Akron meth house has finally been handed a sentence.
Two other defendants were also shipped off to lengthy jail stints, closing the file on what is probably the blue ribbon winner of terrible, sad stories from the meth underground, a terrible, sad merry-go-round of misery that's happening in every corner of the state. All you have to do is go looking.
After losing a jury trial last month, 21-year-old Heather Lerch was given life without parole consideration for 22 years on Tuesday, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Akron police say Lerch's son Patrick spent the last two weeks of his little life living in a rat-infested, fume-choked basement on St. Leger Avenue. Mother and son were staying at the house with Lerch's boyfriend, 20-year-old Randy Legg.
Legg's brother, Ronald, 22, and 25-year-old Allen Kostra were also staying at the house. These two apparently spent the entire weekend before the baby's death cooking up and binging on meth. At one point, Ronald Legg put a coffee filter soaked in meth juice inside Patrick's mouth. When authorities arrived at the house on a call that the child was unresponsive, he'd already been dead for two hours from the toxins riding the air.
Ronald Legg was given life in prison without parole consideration until 27 years in; Randy Legg has not been sentenced yet; Kostra — who testified against his former drug buddies — was handed a nine-year sentence.
The paper's account says the sentencing got pretty emotional, especially when Kimberly Clark addressed the defendants. A relative, Clark took the mother and son in when the pair were homeless, and for a time helped raised the baby.
Speaking first to Ronald Legg, Clark said she and her husband will attend his parole hearings to ensure he never is released from prison because of what he did to Patrick.
“He didn’t ask for this. He didn’t ask to be down in that basement to be tortured by rats. He was a beautiful, beautiful, happy child when he left my house. He was full of life, and you took it away from him. I don’t see how you can live with yourself,” Clark said
A letter was also read from Patrick Lerch's biological father, who lives out of state. It's understandably rough:
In the father’s letter to Lerch, he said he will never see Patrick’s first day of school, the loss of his first tooth, his first date or his excitement at going to the prom.
“He will never come and say, ‘Dad, I’m getting married,’ or, ‘Dad, you’re going to be a grandpa.’ I don’t think any of those things were important to you,” the letter said, “but they were important to me.”
It ended with the pledge: “God will forgive you, I never will — Nick.”