CLEVELAND – The man charged with killing a North Royalton woman then dumping her body in a Geneva landfill was sentenced in court on Monday.
Richard Muncie, 50, pled guilty to charges for the murder of Cari Smith including aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Daniel Gaul sentenced Muncie to life in prison with eligibility of parole after 30 years.
Family and friends gathered in the courtroom hoping to get justice for Smith.
During the pre-trial, Smith’s father, Gary Gruzeski spoke with passion directly to Muncie saying his daughter will now never see her children grow old and accomplish their dreams. He spoke about her service at Cleveland Clinic over the years helping to keep many patients alive, but now her life was taken away.
“I hope you rot in hell,” Gruzeski said to Munice.
Smith’s mother, Connie Rupprecht, said that somehow with gut-wrenching pain, continuous tears, sleepless nights and nightmares, the family got through the holidays.
“It was Cari’s naïve innocence, her loneliness for the loss of her brother, her need to be loved that attracted Richard,” Rupprecht said.
She explained that just days before Cari was murdered, Cari confided in her mom and told her that although she was happy at first in the relationship with Muncie, he gradually started to mistreat her which grew to wrath, lies, physical threats to her and other family members and bursts of abuse.
“But she finally had enough,” Rupprecht said. “She was determined not to step back but to stand up and put him down. She was ready to set charges. But before that when she met him face to face and rejected him, through her courage and her braveness, his rage exploded and he brutally killed her in his cowardness. He is a monster.”
She admitted that her human side hates him for who he is and wants him to pay for what he did.
“But then I am reminded of who I am in Christ, that repaying evil with evil not only destroy him but will destroy ourselves,” she said. “I choose to repay him with a blessing of prayer of salvation. I pray eventually he will surrender and receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Then Cari would not have died in vain.”
Kyle Smith, Smith’s son and Parma police officer, also spoke on the violent threats Muncie made to the family saying at times he was afraid to leave his home.
Munice stood and spoke to the family saying he’s sorry that he got out of control that night.
When the judge asked him what did happen that night, Muncie answered, “Too much drinkin’ and pills.”
Judge Gaul described this case as being at “the top of the depravity list, of the violence list, of the senseless brutality list.”
“In those conversations I’ve had with your attorneys and the prosecutor, it’s been told to me you don’t remember things,” Judge Gaul said. “Well guess what, I don’t believe you. The guys like you, men who beat women to death, they all want to say they can’t remember. I think you do. I think you’ll remember it every day of your life.”
According to court records, Muncie was arrested previously on charges of drug possession and felonious assault.
North Royalton police also told the FOX 8 I-Team that Smith had filed an assault report against Muncie two weeks prior to her death.
Smith worked at the Cleveland Clinic for nearly two decades.