The Ottawa County Courthouse on Wednesday overflowed with the family of Phillip Masterson, who was fatally beaten on Put-in-Bay in 2011.
Zach Brody, 29, formerly of Bowling Green, is serving a 16-year prison sentence for Masterson’s murder.
Masterson’s family hoped similar justice would be applied on Wednesday to Sarah Partlo, 27, of Rocky River, who pleaded guilty in November to two counts of obstructing justice in the case.
Ottawa County Common Pleas Court Judge Bruce Winters sentenced Partlo to two 180-day prison terms in the Ottawa County jail, along with two $500 fines. The terms will run concurrent, which will keep her behind bars for about six months.
Prior to explaining the sentence he handed down, Winters first quashed rumors that Partlo allowed Masterson to die that night on the bay. “There’s no evidence of that,” he said.
Winters said Partlo will serve time for failing to turn Brody over to police, and for lying about the murder.
Partlo could have helped end the Masterson family’s prolonged fear and agony when nine of them searched for Masteron’s body, Winters said. “(Masterson’s family members) were traumatized having to hunt and find their son,” Winters said to Partlo. “You should have prevented that.”
Georgeanne Masterson, Masteron’s mother, delivered a powerful statement during the sentencing hearing. “There was a huge miscarriage of justice,” Masterson said. “Nine of us searched Put-In-Bay. We were not going to leave without finding my son.”
She said she wanted to see Partlo punished, but she conceded that a strong sentence would not make her feel better about the horror she has endured.
“We are hoping (Partlo) will be sentenced to the fullest extent of the law,” Masterson said. “No one wins. (The Partlo family’s) lives and (Partlo’s) life will be changed forever. The Partlo family will have her back one day. We, however, will not see our son again until we meet again in Heaven.”
Partlo’s attorney said his client has no criminal history. He also said Partlo has wanted to apologize to the Masterson family on several occasions, but was advised against this.
On Wednesday, she got her chance.
“I know my actions were wrong that day,” Partlo said. “I’d do anything to take them back. My actions have caused the Masterson family trouble. I’m sorry.”