Whiting man gets 26 years for brutal killing
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent October 23, 2012 4:32PM
Shawn Zvonar. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 25, 2012 11:46AM
A Whiting man who admitted he killed a funeral home operator was sentenced to 26 years for voluntary manslaughter.
Shawn A. Zvonar, 31, who stabbed David W. Ruzich, 58, early on Oct. 13, 2011, during a brief altercation at the former Owens-Ruzich Funeral Home, 2031 Indianapolis Blvd., Whiting, apologized to Ruzich’s family during a sentencing hearing Tuesday before Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez.
When Zvonar submitted his plea agreement last month, Vasquez cautioned the attorneys involved in the case that he was not inclined to accept the agreement because it called for a sentence of less than the 30-year advisory sentence. Voluntary manslaughter is punishable by 20 to 50 years in prison.
Defense attorneys Teresa Hollandsworth and Sonya Scott-Dix said they felt the resolution of the case was fair in light of Zvonar’s lack of violent criminal history, his remorse for his actions and the circumstances surrounding the crime. Deputy prosecutor Mark Watson said he and Zvonar’s attorneys looked at the case objectively and took into account the wishes of the victim’s family in arriving at the plea agreement.
Hollandsworth said she has known Zvonar since he was 18 and that he has an alcohol addiction. “He told me he lost every job he’s had because of drinking,” Hollandsworth said. While the defense filed notice of a self-defense claim, Hollandsworth said her client consumed an “enormous amount of alcohol,” blacked out, then woke up, was involved in an altercation with the victim and became angry. “He absolutely crossed the line,” she said.
Vasquez read a letter from one of Ruzich’s daughters outlining their desire for the family to have closure from the daily nightmare they are living while the case has been pending.
“The manner in which this man died was horribly brutal,” Vasquez said, noting that Ruzich’s throat was slit and a screwdriver plunged into his eye socket. “In the end I will not go against this family’s wishes in accepting this plea, only because I think it’s perhaps the right thing to do.”