Trumbull County Prosecutor fights against release of convicted murderer
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins is once again asking the Ohio Parole Board not to release an inmate that robbed and murdered a Newton Township businessman 47 years ago.
This is the ninth letter Watkins has sent petitioning against the release of 69-year-old Gary Betz, who was sentenced to life in prison for the December 15, 1976, robbery and murder of 30-year-old Ron Goche.
According to Watkins, Goche was shot in the face with a shotgun and robbed of $138 in bar receipts at the Riviera Inn, which Goche operated. A man who was staying at the inn testified that he heard the shotgun blast.
Betz was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder and an additional seven to 25 years for the robbery.
Released on parole in 2007, Betz was returned to prison in 2011 after being arrested for drunk driving.
Betz has been up for parole several times in the past decade, with Watkins and Goche's family members protesting his release every time.
In his latest letter to the parole board, Watkins argues that Betz was released on parole two times before the murder, and that Betz's actions and lifetime of criminal history should stand as evidence against a potential fourth parole release.
"He does well in a restricted environment. Please leave him alone where he is, and then there is no risk for the rest of us!" writes Watkins.
Betz was sentenced in August of 1977, he has served 46 years and 10 months of his life sentence.
Betz parole hearing is set for November.