May 17, 2013 - By Christina George, Staff WriterRyan Blake Hanway is sentenced to eight to 16 years in prison.
Ryan Blake Hanway will spend the next eight to 16 years in prison for his role in the 2011 double homicide at a residence in Hudson.
"I feel just as guilty as if I had done it myself, and I can barely live with myself," Hanway said at a sentencing hearing Thursday.
The shaking 24-year-old then turned toward the families of victims Eric Clinton Likes and Elva Charlotte Quiver and apologized.
"I'm deeply sorry for all the pain I've caused you," he said, adding that if he could, he would change places with the victims "in a heartbeat."
Under a plea agreement in November, Hanway pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery in exchange for the dismissal of two first-degree murder charges and a lower sentence.
In addition to the prison term, 9th Judicial District Court Judge Norman E. Young ordered Hanway to pay $2,005 in restitution as recommended by Fremont County deputy attorney Pat LeBrun.
Planning the crime
On or about Nov. 13, 2011, Hanway and one or more co-defendants --Laziur Stephen Hanway Jr., Joseph Jude Jenkins, Jude Blackburn and Samantha June Hanway --agreed to commit aggravated robbery and perform an "overt act" if necessary to carry out the robbery.
A few of the defendants testified at previous hearings that some of them went to the victims' trailer two days later and stabbed the couple to death before robbing them. Ryan Hanway was not at the trailer the night of the killings.
When the bodies of Likes, 42, and Quiver, 20, remained undiscovered, three of the defendants returned to the scene Nov. 17, 2011, and set the trailer ablaze in an attempt to cover up the crimes.
Conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery is punishable by imprisonment of not less than five years or more than 25 years. Ryan Hanway's deal, however, stipulated that prosecutors would not argue for a sentence of more than 10 to 20 years.
"He worked with others to create a plan to use deadly weapons in the course of a robbery," LeBrun said while arguing for the maximum sentence in the
agreement. "When you involve deadly weapons, you increase the likelihood that someone will die."
According to previous court testimony, detectives think co-defendants Jenkins and Laziur Hanway contacted Ryan Hanway on or about Nov. 13, 2011, to join the two in robbing Likes.
The motive was to steal money from Likes to help a pregnant Samantha Hanway and her husband, Jenkins, who were facing eviction.
Ryan Hanway allegedly agreed to the plan and helped the group scope out the scene.
Detectives think Ryan Hanway coached the others on what to do, telling them to use guns but no cell phones and not to look directly into any cameras in the area.
At a hearing in November, Ryan Hanway said he didn't return to the house on Nov. 15, 2011, because the situation was getting serious and he no longer wanted to be a part of it. On Thursday, Ryan Hanway said he was against the robbery, but the others told him they were going to rob the couple with or without him.
"No one was supposed to be there," Ryan Hanway said about Likes and Quiver.
Ryan Hanway said when he learned the group had decided to rob the couple Nov. 13, 2011, he tried to talk them out of it. He was relieved when it didn't happen that day.
"The undeniable truth is (Ryan) Hanway helped make that robbery happen," LeBrun said.
He said Ryan Hanway assumed a responsibility to the victims and the community when he discussed the robbery plot with the others.
LeBrun said Ryan Hanway chose to do nothing to stop the crimes and remained silent until arrests were made in the case four months later.
"He allowed these four murderers to continue on the loose," LeBrun said.
Ryan Hanway is the second to be sentenced in the case. Laziur Hanway Jr. received a life sentence March 15. Samantha Hanway and Jenkins will be sentenced in July. The case against the youngest defendant, Jude Blackburn, remains in the Wyoming Supreme Court until a judge decides if proceedings should be moved to juvenile court.
During Thursday's hearing, defense attorney Jeremy Kisling called psychiatrist Cheryl Collins Portwood to the stand to testify about Ryan Hanway's background.
Portwood said she first met Ryan Hanway in July 2002 because he was having issues with his mother. She later diagnosed both the boy and his mother with obsessive compulsive disorder, describing a child who had trouble at school and with others because he wanted to see a world of fairness.
"He needed to have things a certain way," Portwood said.
She said Ryan Hanway changed his last name from Myers at a young age because he wanted to fit in with his mother's family. She also said Ryan Hanway was more of a follower who was easily taken advantage of.
"He is, for the most part, he's so concerned about his environment and making himself comfortable," she said. "He's not a leader."
Ryan Hanway's mother, Carmelita Hanway, and stepfather, Ronald Oldman, spoke of their son's character and asked that his sentence involve appropriate structure for someone with OCD.
Friend Randi Redwing said she doesn't think Ryan Hanway specifically told the others to commit the crimes.
"I think, if anything, it was a hypothetical question," Redwing said. "If you tell someone to jump off the bridge, it's up to them to do it."
Ryan Hanway's second defense attorney, John DeLeon, argued for a five- to 10-year sentence and a recommendation for boot camp. He asked Young to consider the nature of the offense, Ryan Hanway's participation, and his character, circumstances and minimal criminal history.
Family members of the victims requested that the maximum sentence be imposed. Likes' brother, Brian, spoke at Thursday's hearing like he did at Laziur Hanway's hearing.
"We meet again, hey," Young said.
"Yep, No. 2, huh," Brian Likes replied. "You know how I feel."
Likes said his brother was a good man and Ryan Hanway deserved the maximum penalty.
"He had ideas, and he put ideas in their heads," he said about the other defendants.
Quiver's relative, Tara Coffee, said Ryan Hanway was the oldest of the five and could have influenced them.
"He could have come forward and stopped it," she said. "My uncle's living every parent's nightmare. ... It's not going to make anything better, but maybe it'll give my uncle closure."
"I've pondered on this case quite a bit," Young said before delivering the sentence.
He said it is important to remember that the Legislature passed a law mandating a minimum five-year prison sentence for aggravated robbery, adding that a defendant can expect to serve jail time for such a "violent felony."
"Robbery involves violence," Young said. "This is a very, very serious offense on our books."
Despite mitigating factors like Ryan Hanway's age and minimal criminal history, Young said probation wasn't an option because the defendant's participation had "clearly" set the subsequent crimes in motion.
"I can't ignore that," Young said.
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