Chad Michael Zolman
LA PORTE — Katherine Heinis tried remaining strong but toward the end couldn't fight back tears when calling her former son-in-law a coward and how his brutal slaying of her daughter caused her in many ways also to die.
Clayton Lindsey was given a 75-year prison sentence Monday for two counts of murder and Class B felony battery. He must also serve 10 years probation upon his release.
At 44, Judge Tom Alevizos told Lindsey he'll like spend the rest of his life behind bars. With good time credit, the earliest Lindsey can expect to be released is at age 81.
Prior to sentencing, Lindsey apologized for fatally shooting his estranged wife, Christine Lindsey and Chad Zolman in September of 2009.
The Mill Creek area man drove into his estranged wife's vehicle, broke into her home and then gunned down Mrs. Lindsey and Zolman with a shotgun inside a Kingsford Heights residence that she moved into after she had filed for divorce.
Lindsey over tears told his former mother-in-law ‘'I loved her'' when she asked why he killed them.
Heinis told Lindsey pursuing boyfriends wasn't why she left him as he had claimed. It was his physical abuse.
‘'I know what was going on inside that home,'' Heinis said. She said Christine on several prior occasions left but eventually returned under the belief that Lindsey would come after her and even their children if she left him for good.
‘'She knew she would never escape him,'' Heinis said.
Heinis also told Lindsey in the courtroom ‘'you treated her like a possession. She was a person. You thought of no one but yourself,'' said Heinis.
‘'Just remember your children and what you did to them,'' said Heinis.
Zolman, 38, from Ohio was highly regarded by those who knew him including children he coached in football and other sports.
His 4-year old niece regularly places peanut butter cookies on his grave, said his mother, Deborah Zolman. ‘'He's missed by many more than I could have imagined,'' she said.
Defense attorney David Jones told the court the plea agreement was reached after several months of negotiating with prosecutors. He felt one factor working in his client's favor was admitting guilt and sparing the families of the victims from having to endure a trial. ‘'That's the best he can do. He can't take back what happened,'' Jones said.
La Porte County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Fronk said no amount of time can ever equal the pain suffered by the victims but felt terms of the plea achieved a high level of justice in the case.
Chad Michael Zolman, 38, Defiance, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, September 19, 2009, at 3:37 p.m. in LaPorte, Indiana.
He was born in Napoleon, Ohio, on September 3, 1971, the son of Joseph and Deborah (Bowers) Zolman. He married Lisa Marie White on May 9, 1993, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Chad is survived by his wife, Lisa; son, Chad Duane; and daughter, Kayleigh Marie, both at home. Also surviving are his parents; three brothers, Scott, Las Vegas, Nevada, Ryan, Defiance, and Shawn (Nicole), of Defiance; nephew Troy Zolman, Idaho; nieces, Scylea and Amelia Zolman and Melody Sapp of Defiance and Dru Zolman, Idaho; godparents, Don and Phyllis Hohenbrink; and friends too numerous to list.
He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Paul Zolman; grandmother, Amelia (Zolman) Kreimbrink; stepgrandfather, August Kreimbrink; grandparents, Benjamin and Alice (Wentworth) Bowers.
A 1991 graduate of Liberty Center High School and Four County Vocational School, Chad enlisted in the U.S. Navy and proudly served in the Gulf War. He was a one-time member of the Defiance VFW Post 3360 and the Defiance Eagles Aerie 372. He assisted as a Tinora Jr. High School wrestling coach and coached the 5-6th grade Tinora Little Girls' Softball Team. He was an avid bowler, accomplishing two 300 games, and golfed on the St. Michael's golf league. Chad was also a member of the St. Michael's Catholic Church parish.
As a loving, warm-hearted husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend, he will be sadly and eternally missed by all. May God's angels always be at his side.
Public visitation will be held from 2-4 and 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at Mast-Mock-Hoffman-Hanenkrath-Clevenger-Schaffer Funeral Home in Defiance. Reciting of the rosary will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Funeral Mass will be held by Father Dave Tscherne at St. Michael's Catholic Church, 5480 Moser Road, Defiance, at 11 a.m. Thursday, with military rites and burial at Riverside Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the entire family requests donations be made to the two surviving children for future educational purposes.
See post for dear friend Christine Lindsey here.