The Beachwood father who tried to hire a hit man to kill his former son-in-law was sentenced to nine years in prison in court today.
Judge Richard Collins, Jr. told Al Zombory, 77, that it troubled him that he had shown no remorse for the crime he pleaded guilty to committing.
“He has not accepted responsibility or at least expressed any regret for what he has in fact done. I didn’t hear an apology today and I certainly didn’t read an apology in the letter that he sent to me,” said Collins.
He added, “What I have heard, certainly from the written letter, that it was an act of revenge. It was an act of retaliation.”
Collins read one except from the three-page letter Zombory wrote to him: “I wanted him to suffer for beating my daughter Chrissy. I wanted him to suffer as they had.”
Zombory’s defense attorney Mark Ziccarelli told the court that Zombory deserved a lesser sentence because he had a sparse criminal record before this crime and he has health problems that would burden the state financially if he were imprisoned.
Zombory pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder Jan. 24, days after his daughter was convicted by a jury of the same crime.
He told the judge that his daughter Christine Metter, 41, also of Beachwood, was not involved.
Zombory spoke for just one minute during the hearing:
“Maybe I did overreact,” he paused. “But that is what I did and this is what you see. And I still say Chrissy did not know until I drove her over of what I had planned. I have nothing else to say.”
With a yellow manila envelope, Zombory hid his face from the media during the hearing, even when he was addressing the judge.
After the hearing, Zombory told sheriff’s deputies he did not want to go.
Metter testified that she arranged an initial meeting between Zombory and high school friend Patrick Sabo, but that she did not know her father would offer Sabo $50,000 to kill her ex-husband.
Metter was the sole beneficiary of her ex-husband's $1.5 million life insurance payout, which prosecutors alleged was on motive for the plan. Her ex-husband also testified that he was working to be granted custody of the couple's four children.
The conspiracy started with a Facebook chat, said witness Patrick Sabo, who called police after he said Zombory offered him $50,000 to kill Metter's ex-husband.
In the chat, which was obtained by prosecutors from Facebook, Metter complained about her ex, and Sabo said, "Why don't you save your money and hire a hit man LMAO." He said he was joking, but that Metter and her father took it seriously.
Defense attorney Michael Lear's attempt to tear down Sabo's credibility during the trial, arguing that he is motivated by money and fame, did not lead to an acquittal.
Zombory was given credit for the 264 days he has been in jail since his June 3, 2011 arrest. He faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Christine Metter will be sentenced Thursday at 9 a.m.