NEW RICHMOND, Ohio — In what Judge Richard P. Ferenc called one of the most brutal and cold-blooded murders he's seen in his career, Keyanta Gardner was sentenced to life without parole on Wednesday in Clermont County Common Pleas Court.
Gardner pleaded guilty in October to aggravated murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated murder in the death of Bobby Farrell on July 6.
"It's unfathomable to me," Ferenc told Gardner. "I don't know how a brain can operate to do this to such a trusted friend. In the 44 years I've been a participant in the criminal justice system, this is one of the most brutal, cold-blooded, planned executions I've seen."
Members of Farrell's family – including his brother, sister, mother and father – spoke before Gardner was sentenced. Gardner's uncle and mother spoke on his behalf, as did some of his co-workers.
"He sat and watched as our whole world crashed around us for six days," Katie Farrell, Bobby's sister, said. "He played with Bobby's daughter while we got fake ransom calls."
Katie Farrell recalled going for a ride with Gardner and recording it with his permission after her brother went missing. She was hoping Gardner could recall details of the night her brother went missing.
"On July 9, as everyone was looking for my brother, I recorded him with his permission in hopes he remembered something," she recalled. "I know we went the same route he took my brother that night. We turned around two minutes from where he dumped his body."
After Beasley and Gardner disposed of Farrell's body, Gardner continued to hang around Farrell's family, going as far as to travel with them to view surveillance footage in Clifton on the chance it gave a clue to Farrell's whereabouts.
Jenny Farrell, Bobby Farrell's mother, described talking to Gardner through text while at the hospital waiting for the birth of her granddaughter, hoping he could remember clues that could find her son.
"We loved him as one of us," she said. "When we made plans, he was invited and he would come. He was always polite, never got angry and never gave me a reason to not like him, but boy was I fooled."
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