October 20, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
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Medina murderer gets 15 to life in prison for October party stabbing

Aaron Furin watches court proceedings while one of his attorneys, Jennifer Schwartz, takes notes. Furin pleaded guilty Thursday to murder and was given a mandatory, non-negotiable prison sentence of 15 years to life. According to police, Furin stabbed and killed a man with a hunting knife during a party in October after they got into a fistfight. (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

Aaron Furin watches court proceedings while one of his attorneys, Jennifer Schwartz, takes notes. Furin pleaded guilty Thursday to the murder of James Carney. (NICK GLUNT / GAZETTE)

A 30-year-old Medina man was sentenced to prison for 15 years to life Thursday after being convicted of fatally stabbing a man at a party in October.

Aaron Furin was sentenced after pleading guilty to murder as part of a plea bargain. In return, prosecutors agreed to drop the charge of aggravated murder.

Furin’s sentence was mandatory under Ohio law, prosecutors said.

Furin was charged in the death 37-year-old James Carney, of Medina, after the two of them got into a fistfight at 381 Longview Road just after 10 p.m. Oct. 16.

Witnesses said Carney started to leave, but Furin retrieved a hunting knife from the house and stabbed Carney in the chest in the driveway.

Carney managed to get inside of his vehicle and tried to drive away, police reported, but lost control and crashed a short distance down the road. He was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where he died.

Furin was arrested that evening and was held at the Medina County Jail ever since on $2 million bond.

County Prosecutor Dean Holman said he was glad the case ended with a guilty plea because it saved the families the trouble of sitting through what he said would have been a messy trial.

James Carney was 37

James Carney was 37

“The trial would have included many confusing issues for the jury, like self-defense and the castle doctrine,” he said. ”But we got what we wanted. We wanted a murder conviction, and that’s what we got.”

He said Carney had punched Furin in the nose during their fight, and Furin responded with even greater violence.

“Hurt pride is not a justification for killing someone,” Holman said. “That doesn’t justify the use of deadly force.”

Holman said the trial would have been handled by assistant prosecutors Matt Razavi and Michael McNamara, who prepared the case.

David Doughten, a Cleveland attorney representing Furin, said Medina Police did a commendable job getting the facts from witnesses that night, and there was no real argument as to what happened.

“The big issue of this case was whether Aaron had acted in self-defense,” Doughten said. “But once the evidence came back from the lab, it became clear it was not self-defense.”

He said Furin was drunk when he killed Carney, but said that was not a defense.

County Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler asked Furin if he wanted to say anything.

“I just want to say that I’m very sorry,” Furin said. “Everybody involved in this sees it as a big tragedy.”

Linda Carney, James Carney’s mother, said she misses her son but was glad Furin admitted what he did and took responsibility.

“He really tore two families apart — my family and his,” she said. “I’m just grateful neither Aaron nor my son had children so they don’t have to deal with a father who was killed or seeing their dad in prison.”

She added, “at least his mom can still see him — even if he is in prison.”

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com. Follow him on Twitter @ngfalcon.