YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A city man who told police last year that he fired a shot into his ceiling because of “marital problems” was sentenced Wednesday to nine months in prison in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Robert Duval Sr., 64, received the sentence from Judge Anthony D’Apolito following a July 28 guilty plea to a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Defense attorney Nick Cerni asked for a sentence of probation so that Duval could care for sick family members, but Judge D’Apolito said that five previous domestic violence convictions made him fear for the victim, who is Duval’s wife of over 40 years.
“I’m worried she’s going to be killed,” Judge D’Apolito said. “I’m not going to keep rolling the dice until she’s dead and I would end up saying, ‘I should’ve.'”
Reports said Duval was arrested after police were called about 5:45 p.m. June 9, 2022, to his home in the 2800 block of Idlewood Avenue after a woman said she was talking to Duval’s wife and she heard a gunshot.
Police found Duval walking on the street. When an officer asked if he had a gun, Duval said no, but when he was asked to raise his shirt, the officer saw a bulge in his clothes that resembled a gun, reports said.
Reports said the officer struggled with Duval, and Duval reached for the bulge before he was handcuffed. Once cuffed, the officer found a loaded .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun in his clothes, reports said.
Duval’s wife denied anything happened in the home, but reports said Duval told police he was having “marital problems,” and while he was sitting on a chair, he fired a shot in the air. Police checked the house and found a bullet hole in the ceiling above the chair, reports said.
Police could not find a shell casing. Reports said Duval’s wife swept the casing up.
Assistant Prosecutor Katherine Jones asked for a prison sentence, saying that Duval has a lengthy criminal record.
Cerni said his client had not been arrested since 2014, and he was agreeable to any kind of counseling or treatment for alcoholism. He said a presentence investigation recommended probation and that several family members were present, showing that Duval has a support system.
One family member who was not present was his wife because of an illness, Cerni said.
A relative of Duval’s told the court that she believes Duval’s problems are caused by alcohol abuse.
Duval apologized and said he wants to get help for his drinking problem.
Judge D’Apolito, however, said that he believes prison is necessary because of Duval’s past record of domestic violence arrests. He said he hopes prison can jar him into making permanent changes in his life so he does not get in more trouble.
“There’s something going on that I can not accept for society or Mrs. Duval,” Judge D’Apolito said.