CLEVELAND — Tamara McLoyd was sentenced Tuesday afternoon after previously being found guilty for the shooting death of off-duty Cleveland Police Officer Shane Bartek during a carjacking on New Year’s Day last year.
Judge John P. O'Donnell sentenced McLoyd to life in prison with a parole eligibility after 25 years.
"I can't in good conscience impose a sentence of life without parole..... if you disagree, I can't fault you," O'Donnell said.
McLoyd will need to serve additional sentences for the robbery charges, totaling 54 years before her first eligibility for parole.
"You will be in your 70s by the time your first parole eligibility comes up," O'Donnell said to the 19-year-old at the end of the sentencing hearing.
But before Judge O'Donnell read the sentence, Bartek's family members had a chance to read victim impact statements.
Debra Bartek, his mother, said she and Shane were close. She misses everything about him.
"As a mother of a police officer, you know it’s a possibility that your child can be killed on their job; you don’t think on the way to a Cav's game your child will be murdered over a car, she said.
She recounted the night it happened.
"I couldn’t hold my baby, I couldn’t wipe away the blood on him, I couldn’t tell him how sorry I was that this happened to him," she told the judge.
His brother, Eric Bartek, said they will never be the same.
"Shane planned to serve and protect the rest of his life, but now we are going to be grieving for the rest of ours," he said.
His twin sister, Summer Bartek, said a part of her died when Shane did.
"While Tamara McLoyd was out partying and having fun I was staring my twin’s dead body," she said. "Shane died alone, cold and wet, in between cars, and he deserved so much better than that."
She told the judge she always loved the label of being a 'twin' and now she is a 'twinless twin.'
"To lose a twin, there isn't a word. The best way to describe the loss is our souls were connected with a cord, so strong, so powerful, that not anything could break it except death. Tamara McLoyd broke the cord and I've been floating into oblivion ever since," she said.
McLoyd's mother also spoke to the judge, asking him to have mercy on her daughter because she struggles with mental health issues.
"I feel bad for this family. I am also hurting," she said. "I know my daughter has to go to jail and I know a man is dead, but I don’t think that she has to spend the rest of her life in jail because she really isn’t fully aware of the things that she did."
Judge O'Donnell asked McLoyd if she would like to say anything, to which her attorneys said they have advised her not to speak.
"There is no question that you have my sympathy and my admiration for your composure here today," O'Donnell said to Bartek's family members, who were present at the sentencing hearing Tuesday.
After the sentencing, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley said he's not sure if justice will ever be served because Bartek is gone, but said the streets of Cuyahoga County will be safer without McLoyd on them.
"She was convicted, adjudicated as a juvenile, for a home-invasion robbery in Lorain two months before this occurred and she was basically turned back on the streets of our community with no punishment," he said. "This could’ve all been prevented had it been handled correctly in Lorain County."
O'Malley said the state did not pursue the death penalty in McLoyd's case because the Bartek family didn't want it.
"We are Christians," said Debra Bartek. "She’s young too and we wanted her in jail as long as possible so she couldn’t hurt anyone else."
Bartek added that they can finally start the healing process.
"We had to stand up for him but now we can grieve and move on because I know him and he would’ve wanted us to do that," she said.
Last month, she was found guilty of the following charges: Aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault, aggravated robbery, grand theft, having weapons under disability, and theft. She was found not guilty of a second aggravated murder charge.
McLoyd was indicted on Jan. 7 on charges in connection with Bartek’s shooting.
According to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, On Dec. 31, 2021, McLoyd approached Bartek at an apartment building near Rocky River and Fairway drives in Cleveland. She walked up behind him, robbed him at gunpoint and then fatally shot him. After the shooting, McLoyd stole Bartek’s vehicle and fled the scene.
Bartek was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.
She was indicted on April 12 on charges in connection with a Christmas Day robbery.
Prosecutors said that on Dec. 25, she approached a 27-year-old man at the same apartment complex Bartek was shot at. As with Bartek, she allegedly took the man’s keys and fled in his vehicle.
She was arrested the day after Bartek’s death after she was linked to the Dec. 25 robbery through evidence.
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