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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Parole board should nix parole in Ormston murder case

Dear Ohio State Parole Board:

I’m writing to express my outrage that Mark J. Sotka is being considered for parole in the killing of Angel Ormston of Mentor-on-the-Lake. 

The outrage isn’t directed at you. It’s not your fault that he’s able to take advantage of a part of the law that allows this convicted killer to begin to pursue parole after service of two-thirds of his sentence. 

You’ve not been confronted with this case so far. So, please, allow me to help make you aware of the facts of this crime, from the perspective of an Ohioan who saw it unfold from another part of the state.

In August 1992, I was a young journalist working at The Morning Journal in Lorain, my first job out of college.

Cleveland media shared the shocking news about this beautiful young girl from Mentor High School a couple of days after she disappeared. Soon, I began seeing her face on “MISSING” posters as I entered and exited the Ohio Turnpike on shopping trips to Parmatown Mall.

Later, that smiling face beamed back from a milk carton, again with the word “MISSING.”

Four and a half months later, hunters found her decomposing body lying in a ditch in Perry Township. She was wrapped in a bed sheet when discovered, and it took investigators awhile to determine the cause of her death because of the advanced decomposition of the body.

Angel was 17 years old when she was killed by two stab wounds to the heart and one to her side. She was bound at the ankles and chest by duct tape and the sheet.

Her friends said she was carrying on an affair with Sotka, whom they say killed her when she disclosed that she was pregnant.

Sotka was caught and later confessed because of dogged police work the likes of which we see today on “CSI.” 

A roll of duct tape, a few carpet fibers and a little bit of blood on a baseboard in a home in which he no longer lived put him behind bars. Mentor Police, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office never gave up as Sotka sat at home or in his college dorm and lived it up while the residents of Mentor and Mentor-on-the-Lake cowered in fear as the hunt for one of their daughters dragged on endlessly.

He tossed her out like trash after he wooed her with empty promises of a future. 

Then, in a final cowardly act, he took a deal guaranteed to save him from sitting on Ohio’s Death Row and paying the ultimate price for his butchery.

At Sotka’s sentencing in February 1993, John Ormston laid bare his family’s pain and sorrow for the lost promise of his gorgeous daughter:

“Do you realize what you’ve done? Do you have any idea what you’ve done to us? She loved you. She talked about you all the time. That’s all she talked about was Mark, and you killed her. You had a chance to save her and you killed her instead. And now, while your parents can visit you in prison, you know what we get to do? 
Visit our daughter’s grave. Seventeen years old. So full of live. You stabbed her in the heart. She does anything for anybody, and you killed her for that.

“You have no remorse. Here you killed her and you left her to rot. I’d like to show you the pictures of her of how we found her. I can’t even bear to look at them.

“How dare you. Look at you. Twenty years old and you’ve already killed? You make me sick. That’s all I can say.”

And now, 20 years later, Sotka has asked to come before you to plead for his release from prison.

I ask you to send him back to his cell.

It’s too soon for Angel’s parents to know he’s walking freely among them. It’s too soon for her friends to be confronted by the fact that the one who stole their innocence is allowed back into a free society.

Then-Lake County Common Pleas Judge Paul Mitrovich sent Sotka away for 30 years to life.

I ask that you take into account the facts of Sotka’s crime and honor that sentence. He stole the promise of a beautiful young girl that day in Mentor. He shouldn’t now be awarded the freedom to pursue the dreams she never had the chance to attain.

Laura A. Kessel
Managing Editor
The News-Herald

Editor's note: Ormston's family is asking concerned citizens to sign their petition at or send a letter stating why Sotka should not be granted parole to by Saturday, June 1, 2013, so they can submit it with the petition to the parole board.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, what he did was wrong.. he has spent half his life behind bars for his crime.
he was and still is a good person who made a bad choice. mark had a bright future ahead of him that in a split second he destroyed..
there will come a day when he gets out, as he should. he has paid for his crime for over 20 years. he is not a monster, and he never was. that's why he should be paroled. when that day comes i'm sure he will do well in rebuilding his life.. good people who make bad choices deserve a second chance. god forgives all..

June 18, 2013 at 1:16 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad choices? Wow - you're completely sick. Idiots like you are pathetic. A young woman was brutally murdered and you call that a bad choice. Let me guess - you sat on the Casey Anthony jury, didn't you? You're beyond gross.

July 8, 2013 at 2:14 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! No second chances with murder. You take a life you forfeit yours. That's not a bad choice that's murder.

July 8, 2013 at 10:06 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't want a society where killers are given to the relatives of the victim to be tortured an killed. But we neither want a society that takes the compromise of dispensing justice and then shows leniency to the killers on the premise of a pretended rehabilitation. Leniency for people capable of terminate somebody's life hurts the relatives of the victim, and hurts society. It sends the message that, even if you are catched, the punishment does not fit the crime. The criminals are better taken care of by the system than the victims and their relatives.

August 20, 2013 at 1:30 PM 

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