CHILLICOTHE- A Highland County man was sentenced to more than two decades in prison Monday for attempted murder in April 2020.
Samuel D. Chapman, 40, formerly of 125 West Main St., Leesburg, was sentenced to 21-26 years in prison, with 342 days of jail time credit.
Chapman was found guilty on Feb. 25 of attempted murder and kidnapping, both first-degree felonies, grand theft, a fourth-degree felony, and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, after a three-day jury trial.
On April 1, 2020, Chapman stabbed 76-year-old Barbara Martin several times in the neck and abdomen as well as cutting her head and hands after getting a ride from Martin from the Riverside Valero to Stone Road and Ohio 104.
Samuel Chapman after being sentenced to 21-26 in prison on March 8, 2021. (Photo: Justin Reutter)
He then returned to the crime scene later, but by then another woman, Jennifer Lambert had found Martin lying in the field bleeding heavily and she told Chapman to leave and that law enforcement was on the way.
After visiting a residence on Stone Road where he left his Carhart Jacket- a crucial piece of evidence in the case- Chapman was found trespassing near the grounds of the Ross County Airport.
After a foot pursuit and a physical struggle, Chapman was brought down by Ross County Sheriff’s deputies and an Ohio State Trooper. He was then taken into custody.
Chapman’s victim died 15 days after being released from a Columbus hospital. Chapman was not charged directly in her death, as it was impossible to prove his alleged actions directly led to her death, an investigator for the Ross County Prosecutor’s Office told the Gazette in May 2020.
Crystal Rush, a relative of Martin’s, read a victim impact statement in court.
“You repaid her generosity with an act of violence that can only be described as heartless and selfish,” she said. “Because of you, she will never see her granddaughter get married, which she was looking forward to with all her heart … You’ve taken away a lady who meant everything to her family and friends.”
Crystal Rush, a relative of the victim, reads a victim impact statement on March 8, 2021. (Photo: Justin Reutter)
Before sentencing him, Judge Michael Ater stated that society must be protected from people like Chapman.
“In my 27 years of prosecuting and on the bench, I’ve never seen anything as callous, as cruel, as unwarranted as what you did to her. It utterly shocks the conscience to think that a human could do that to another, especially someone that was reaching out and attempting to help the other person. Society needs to be protected from people like you,” he said.
Chapman continued to assert his innocence during the sentencing hearing, over the stated advice of Chris Junga, who represented him. “I’m sorry for your loss,” he said, addressing Rush and her husband. “I did not harm her. There are many things I would love for her to say to you right now.”
Samuel Chapman denies his guilt while addressing family of the victim on March 8, 2021. (Photo: Justin Reutter)
Ross County Prosecutor Jeffrey Marks indicated his belief that justice was served. “The facts of the case were horrible. The harm to Mrs. Martin, with the four stab wounds to her neck were atrocious, without any justification.”
Junga indicated in court that Chapman intended to appeal his conviction.
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