Killer of Ray Morgan given 25 years to life for brutal murder
Richard D. Hanes, the 37-year-old parolee who beat Raymond Lee Morgan to death with a hammer on July 24, 2018, at 111 Liberty St., in the City of Batavia, had nothing to say for himself before Judge Charles Zambito sent him to prison for 25 years to life this morning.
It was the most severe sentence available to Zambito for the savage murder under state law.
Zambito described the murder of Morgan as brutal; any man who could deliver 20 to 25 blows to another human being with a hammer and then try to evade capture and show no remorse is a danger to society.
State law will permit Hanes to become eligible for parole someday and a parole board will ask Zambito for his opinion and Zambito said he will oppose Hanes ever being released from prison.
Zambito noted that Hanes, whose career as a criminal began in 1996, has been released on parole four times and probation twice, and each and every time Hanes violated the terms of release.
"A person with that personality doesn't belong in civil society," Zambito said.
Hanes sat motionless, staring straight ahead, throughout today's proceedings, and he declined an invitation by Zambito to make a statement before sentencing. But members of Morgan's family had plenty to tell Zambito and they took the demeanor of Hanes as a sign that he didn't regret taking the life of the father of two living daughters and seven grandchildren.
"You get to live and breathe while my father is in an urn," one of Morgan's daughters said (Raelee and Faith Morgan stood at the podium together while making their statements).
"Life in prison isn't good enough for the pain and suffering you've caused our family," she added.
Morgan's sister Nancy Raymond said, "You made the decision to take Ray's life, making it necessary for us to serve a life sentence without his smile, his laugh and his love."
Sister Natalie Urbansky said she got to spend 41 years with her brother. Because of Hanes, that opportunity is denied to Morgan's grandchildren.
"I don't want Richard to feel bad for me," she said. "I want him to feel bad for (Morgan's) kids and his grandkids, who won't have the years with him that we had."
District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said Batavia PD detectives who investigated the case described a grisly crime scene. They gathered the DNA evidence on the hammer and a hat, and processed the bloody mess resulting from the mayhem inside of Morgan's apartment. Given the lurid details and the eloquent statements of Morgan's family, there wasn't much more Friedman could add in arguing for the maximum available sentence.
"The detectives, experienced detectives, said this was the most brutal crime scene they had ever seen," Friedman said. "They talked about the evil of what this defendant did, and they believe he deserves the maximum sentence available in this case."
Friedman said he agreed with the family's assessment that Hanes showed no remorse for his murder of Morgan.
Defense attorney Fred Rarick argued for the 20-year prison term Hanes was initially offered in a plea bargain that Hanes (inset photo, right) turned down, noting that both the judge and the DA were aware of the brutality of the crime at the time of the offer. He also said his client disagreed with the jury's verdict.
When Zambito pronounced his verdict, the more than 20 family members and friends in the court, and at least one juror who voted to convict Hanes, applauded.
After the sentence was handed down, and as Hanes was led out of the courtroom by deputies, a member of Morgan's family yelled "You monster! I hope you never walk the streets again."
Top photo: Family photo of Ray Morgan.