Claren Gets Life Without Parole

By STEVEN F. HUSZAI / Staff Writer

Posted Aug 24, 2017 at 12:00 PM

  

WOOSTER — In all his years as a prosecutor, Mike Rickett told the court, he has never seen a defendant more “callous” and “manipulative” than Paul Claren.

“It is clear that this defendant has a history of retaliating ... the defendant has such hate in his heart,” Rickett said, during Claren’s sentencing Thursday morning.

Claren was given life in prison without the chance for parole by Judge Mark K. Wiest.

He was found guilty of aggravated murder on Tuesday by a jury following a seven-day trial for the shooting death of Bryan Galliher, who was 21 years old. The shooting took place Aug.18, 2016 at the Lamplight Apartments on North Ella Street in Orrville, across from Orrville High School.

Jessica Musser, victim advocate with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office, read several statements on behalf of Galliher’s family members, while his mother, Gerri, wore a T-shirt with his picture on it that read “Justice for Bryan.”

“Bryan is missed so much by so many people,” Musser read from Gerri Galliher’s statement. “Paul Claren wanted to play God ... our hope is he never gets to see outside of prison walls again.”

Rickett noted that Claren’s history includes breaking the Broadview Heights mayor’s arm following a minor traffic stop in 1991 and then being accused of strangling a patient when he worked at a psychiatric hospital.

Claren was ultimately acquitted of those charges, but was fired from his job.

He went on to “systematically retaliate” against four witnesses in that case, including the CEO of the hospital and an attorney who prosecuted the case, by shooting out windows of their homes. Rickett said Claren specifically targeted the rooms of children.

And even when in prison for those charges, Rickett said Claren made remarks that he would kill the judge in that case, in such a way as she would suffer.

Rickett said these remarks were taken so seriously that a task force was set up in Summit County to monitor him 24 hours a day for three years after his release from prison.

A 2001 medical report on Claren from that case unfortunately turned out to be “very prophetic” Rickett added that “given further time... it is obvious he will kill someone,” due to his social isolation, overly sensitive nature, and as a person who tends to hold grudges.

Past and present victims of Claren were “relieved” Rickett said, to know he would be behind bars.

Wiest said “we have now found out (Claren) is a pretty cold-blooded person” who committed cold-blooded murder.

“It’s just hard to comprehend how someone could kill somebody with no remorse at all and think it was kind of funny,” the judge said.

Claren said nothing during his sentencing, which occurred on the one-year anniversary of Galliher’s funeral.

His attorney Lee Winchell said there is “nothing more we could say at this point.”

“Due to the extraordinary professionalism of the Orrville Police Department and the tireless effort and extensive courtroom experience of my Chief Criminal Prosecutor Mike Rickett, as well as the efforts of many others on my prosecution team, I thank God that a very, very dangerous sociopath will remain behind bars for the rest of his life,” said Wayne County Prosecutor Dan Lutz.