A plea deal for the Canton Township man accused of shooting his estranged wife’s boyfriend in the back last year, nearly killing him, was derailed Thursday when the victim objected to the proposed prison sentence that he thought was too lenient.
Melvin Charles Ringer was preparing to plead guilty in Washington County Court of Common Pleas to one felony count of aggravated assault in exchange for a 7- to 14-year prison sentence when the man who was shot told Judge Valarie Costanzo at the hearing that he couldn’t accept the arrangement.
“I don’t agree to it, and I’m not going to,” Everett “Boo” Miller III told Costanzo. “I’d rather him go to trial and walk away from it. … This is a slap on the wrist.”
Miller said he “still has a bullet in me” lodged a quarter-inch from his spine and a half-inch from his heart, which could lead to future medical complications. He added that Ringer’s ex-wife, Amanda, is afraid of the defendant and worried about what will happen when he is released from prison.
“She’s scared of him getting out,” Miller said.
Ringer is accused of firing four shots from a .22-caliber rifle at his estranged wife and Miller on April 13, 2022, as they walked away from the Ringers’ home at 1426 Spencer Ave. after she told him she wanted a divorce, state police said. Miller was shot once, and Amanda Ringer drove him to Washington Hospital in her vehicle, which also was shot.
After an hours-long standoff with state police, Ringer, 41, was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, and misdemeanors of reckless endangerment and prohibited possession of a firearm, which was later withdrawn.
During the plea hearing, Miller took exception with the attempted homicide charge being withdrawn since he nearly died. He wanted Ringer to face a stiffer prison sentence double what prosecutors offered him. He added that he had little communication with prosecutors and never consented to the plea deal.
Assistant District Attorney Robert West said prosecutors tried to inform Miller about the situation but could not reach him at times. West also contended that the aggravated assault charge made the most sense to pursue as part of the plea offer.
“It’s the best charge, we believe, that fits this case and the factual (evidence) of this case,” West told Costanzo.
Ringer’s defense attorney, Chad Schneider, added that his client was highly intoxicated at the time of the incident. It happened in the “heat of passion, a lovers’ triangle,” meaning the defendant could not form “an intent to kill.”
Costanzo said she would need time to review the case due to the “adamant objection” by the victim, and she delayed the plea hearing to a later date.
“There is no urgency for me to make a decision, and this (situation) was pretty much sprung on me,” Costanzo said.
She added that she understood why the victim has “strong feelings” about the plea deal, “considering he was shot and still has a bullet in him.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Miller responded.
After the hearing, Miller said he and Amanda Ringer weren’t dating at the time of the incident but that they had a relationship afterward and are still together.
Meanwhile, Ringer was also scheduled to be resentenced Thursday on a potential probation violation involving a 2019 case of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, which is also being delayed. He is being held at the Washington County jail on a $750,000 cash bond while awaiting the shooting case’s outcome.