Wade Winn accepts plea deal to avoid possible death penalty in killing of Deputy Bill Brewer

Killer sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole
Wade Winn at plea hearing.jpg
Posted at 1:41 PM, Sep 23, 2019

BATAVIA, Ohio — The man charged with fatally shooting a Clermont County deputy and wounding another last February will spend life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Wade Winn, 23, signed a plea deal Monday to avoid a possible death penalty and agreed to the otherwise maximum sentence - life with no parole, to be served consecutively to a 115-year sentence on other charges.

Judge Anthony Brock cited the "callousness" of Winn's actions after imposing the mutually-accepted sentence at the end of a nearly three-hour hearing.

"The targeting of seven law enforcement officers who responded to help Mr. Winn, and with no explanation from Mr. Winn, gives me no reason to believe he wouldn't do it again if he had the chance," the judge said.

Both sides - and the judge - confirmed that the defense suggested the plea deal to keep Winn off death row.

RELATED: Sheriff reluctantly approves plea deal, says it's unfair.

Winn ultimately pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in the killing of Det. Bill Brewer and six counts of attempted aggravated murder for wounding Lt. Nick DeRose and firing on five other deputies.

Winn stood before Brock and quietly said, "Yes, Your Honor," to multiple stipulations of the agreement. Winn faced the judge directly and showed no emotion throughout the hearing. He declined to make a statement.

The Clermont County courtroom was packed with victims' families and Winn's own family. Winn's mother, seated in the first row, sobbed as her son answered to the charges.

The victims declined the offer to make statements in court, prosecutors said, and none of them requested restitution from Winn.

Winn's defense attorney, Gregory Meyers, said Winn was competent to stand trial and that the defense did not have a basis for entering an insanity plea for Winn. The defense did not request a competency hearing, and Winn waived his right to a pre-sentence investigation.

Brock said Winn was attentive in court hearings and the judge had no reason to think Winn was not competent to stand trial or consent to the plea agreement.

Winn told the judge he was taking medications in jail but they didn't not impair his judgment or understanding.

Days after the Feb. 2 shootings, Clermont County Chief Criminal Prosecutor Darren Miller announced that the state intended to seek the death penalty for Winn.

Police said Winn barricaded himself in his Pierce Township apartment and faked his own suicide, then shot Brewer and DeRose through a wall when they came to check on him during a 12-hour standoff.

The deadly incident began when Winn called 911 to report a burglary in his apartment. When police arrived, however, he refused to leave and occasionally fired at other officers stationed around the apartment complex. Prosecutors said police recovered 39 rounds from Winn's weapons.

Winn had consumed large amounts of cocaine and LSD, Winn's attorney said.

Winn had originally pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated murder and 12 counts of attempted aggravated murder. In the deal, prosecutors dropped the death penalty specifications in the first count of aggravated murder and dropped the second count entirely.

If Winn had been convicted on the aggravated murder charges, he faced a potential sentence of death, life in prison without parole, life with parole eligibility after 25 years, or life with parole eligibility after 30 years.

Winn also pleaded guilty to endangering the lives of five other deputies: Dep. Daniel Spears, Dep. Michael Ross, Detective Nicholas Crouch, Dep. Douglas Scott and Sgt. Michael White. Those charges carried the specification that he purposefully attempted to kill law enforcement officers, which is a separate offense in Ohio.