WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — The man convicted of charges in a shootout with police in Liberty last year has learned his sentence.
Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice sentenced 55-year-old Kevin Mallard to 68 to 73 and a half years in prison on Tuesday.
Last month, Mallard pleaded guilty to four counts of attempted murder with firearm specifications; inducing panic with a firearm specification; improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle; carrying a concealed weapon and attempted murder with a firearm specification.
Mallard was charged following a June 2022 incident that led to a shootout with Liberty police on a busy roadway. Investigators said this took place after Mallard shot an innocent man in his face who was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Liberty Street and Belmont Avenue, leaving him blind in both eyes.
“You stole a normal life from Zachary Lamar Woods. He will have to live the rest of his life with the horrific, disfiguring and permanent physical and psychological injuries you solely inflicted upon him,” Judge Rice said.
Liberty police exchanged gunfire with Mallard, creating a standoff situation off of Belmont Avenue. Mallard was wounded in the gunfire.
Mallard not only heard his sentencing on Tuesday, but he also heard from victim Zachary Woods’ mother.
“I pray that God guides you and change your heart and to forgive yourself for what you did that day,” said Natisha Lee, Woods’ mother.
A police officer who was involved in the scary incident also spoke.
“I could hear my brother’s voice over the radio saying, ‘Shots fired!’ I’ve never experienced a sense of urgency to get anywhere so fast in my life. My heart just sunk,” said Liberty Police Officer Ashley Kitchen.
Kitchen said the four officers involved prevented anyone else from being harmed.
“God was on our side and what God has in store for us, you cannot take away from us,” Kitchen said.
Mallard went through two separate competency evaluations leading up to his trial date and was found competent both times.
“You, Mr. Mallard are not a person with mental health illness that committed a crime because of your mental illness. Lots of people in this country suffer from and deal with their mental illness daily without guns and violence,” Judge Rice said.
Mallard apologized to his victims.
“The action taken against Zachary on that day… It’s spoken of about a ‘why’ and I don’t even have a ‘why’ for it,” Mallard said.
Mallard’s trial had been set for Feb. 27 before he took the plea deal.
Judge Rice closed out his remarks by saying Mallard will never harm someone in our society again.