Bunch reacts to sentencing with emotional outburst

Sarah Bunch is escorted
from Judge Alan Mayberry’s courtroom following sentencing Friday afternoon for voluntary manslaughter,
arson and attempted tampering with evidence. (Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)

(Updated 4:18 p.m. 11-20) Sarah E. Bunch was quickly escorted from Judge Alan Mayberry’s courtroom Friday
after an emotional outburst filled with profanities after she was sentenced to the maximum of 13 years
in prison for her killing of a Northwood man Dec. 8, 2008.
The Perrysburg Township woman, now 21, was convicted Oct. 5 of voluntary manslaughter, arson and
attempted tampering with evidence following a plea agreement in the case.
In an attempt to mitigate the sentence, both Bunch and her attorney, Scott Coon, told the court she was
acting in self defense. Mayberry cited inconsistencies in her statements regarding the death of Robert
Porter due to gunshot wounds to his head inflicted by Bunch, and her subsequent setting fire to his
The judge said she received her mitigation through the plea agreement which reduced the initial charges.

Among the judge’s main concerns were conflicts in her statements which raised doubts as to her claim of
self defense. Mayberry said her statements claimed Porter was still coming at her when she fired the
second shot, yet the autopsy showed that shot was fired into the back of his head.
After repeatedly questioning her how this could be, she finally stated, “He turned his head, that’s all I
can tell you.”
Mayberry sentenced her to 10 years for the manslaughter charge, the maximum allowable, and 18 months each
on the other two charges, also the maximum. He further ordered the sentences be served consecutively to
account for the 13-year total.
After Bunch was escorted from the courtroom, her screams and profanity continued to be audible from the
At that point, some family and friends of both Bunch and her victim began verbal outbursts in the crowded
Common Pleas Courtroom. The court constables quickly calmed the situation.
The sentencing began with Coon and Bunch’s statements to the court.
Bunch and Coon both indicated if not for her action, Porter may have been the one before the judge for
his actions including an alleged sexual assault of the defendant.
Coon said she did what she thought she had to in order to protect herself.
“She regrets her actions and considers what other actions she could have done,” Coon stated.
Bunch said the last 11 months “have been the worst for me, my family and the victim’s family.”
Bunch sobbed frequently during her statement claiming, “I really was a good person,” reiterating an
opening remark. “I’m not a threat to society, I’m not a murderous person.”
Calling the judge a man she does not know, she said, “you hold my future in your hands.”
Mayberry used that line in his sentencing telling Bunch, “On Dec. 8 you held your future in your hands.”

He also spoke to Bunch noting, “If I assume what you say is true, that you had to defend yourself, then
the logical thing would be to call the police immediately and tell them your story.”
Noting stolen property found in her room when executing a search warrant which contradicted another of
her statements, Mayberry told her all those things “attack your credibility.”
The judge questioned her series of actions noting the first shot, the second shot, not calling the
police, and returning a half-hour later to set fire to the evidence.
“All those are actions of someone who is guilty,” Mayberry said.
He also ordered Bunch to pay restitution of $2,494 for the arson investigation.
Assistant Wood County Prosecutor Heather Baker introduced Porter’s daughters to the court. One, who only
identified herself as Tina, read a statement to the court about her father whom she said was “dear to my
Directing her comments toward Bunch she noted that she will still have moments with her family that have
been denied to Porter’s family.
“It is in those precious moments I hope you realized how privileged you are.”
Baker told the court that Bunch was attempting to sell Porter the gun she eventually used on him.
“There was no indication her life was in danger,” Baker stated.
Noting inconsistencies and actions which did not correlate with her demeanor in court, Baker added, “She
is putting on a good act for you and the court.”
Paul Dobson, Wood County Prosecutor, after the sentence stated his office feels the maximum sentence was
appropriate despite asking for only 12 years.
He also noted some of the questions regarding evidence in the case was because of her actions in setting
fire to the crime scene.
Bunch has a 2-year-old son, whom she referred to more than once during her statement.
Bunch’s family, including her father, Walter Bunch, and others were quick to cast aspersions on the
Walter Bunch admitted his daughter “made a poor choice,” but believes she should have only received the
minimum sentence.
Though she did not have a spotless juvenile record, he said, “there was never any violence.”