Sunday, 29 April 2007

Second man cleared in 1988 killing

April 28, 2007


Second man cleared in 1988 killing

By Jason Lea, The News-Herald

All charges dropped against Robert Gondor in death of woman whose body was
found in Troy Township

All charges against Robert Gondor have been dropped in the 1988 murder of
Connie Nardi, his attorney Steven Bradley said Friday.

Seventeen years after Gondor, 43, and his lifelong friend Randy Resh, also
43, were convicted of various charges in connection with the murder, they
are both free men, Bradley said.

Gondor said he was going to celebrate by visiting his father's grave site
with his brother. His father died in 2002, while Gondor was still in prison.
"It feels like a lot of stress has been lifted," Gondor said.

The announcement ends nearly two decades of scrutiny that began when Nardi,
31, of Rootstown, was found strangled in Troy Township in 1988.

Gondor and Resh, both of Mantua, and Troy Busta of Hiram were all implicated
in the murder. Gondor was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping
and obstructing justice; Resh of attempted rape and murder; and Busta of
aggravated murder.

Busta was the prosecution'

s key witness against Gondor and Resh in their
1990 trials, but Busta's story changed several times during the course of
the investigation, according to court records. Busta's plea bargain allowed
him to avoid the death penalty.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that Resh and Gondor deserved new
trials, in part because their attorneys had been ineffective.

Resh was retried first and found not guilty April 18 in Portage County Court
of Common Pleas.

Gondor was scheduled to appear May 14 before a jury and Portage County
Common Pleas Judge John Enlow, but Friday morning, the charges were dropped.
"Today is the day it finally comes to an end," Bradley said.

Bradley noted he has represented Resh and Gondor for the last four years.
"I can't wait to see (Gondor) as a free man for the first time ever," he

Of the long road to exoneration, Gondor said, "If you fight for something
hard enough - and if you know what you're fighting for is right - you can
win, even if it takes a long time."

Gondor thanked his family, Resh's family, friends, attorneys and other

"It's just mind-boggling to know our lives have affected so many
individuals," he said.

"Once again, I'd like to reaffirm Randy Resh and I are innocent. We didn't
participate in this crime whatsoever."


Source : The News-Herald

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