LISBON - Frank Gorichky, the Knox Township man who shot and killed his neighbor and friend, Michael Fisher, during an argument while intoxicated last July 2, was sentenced to eight years in prison on Thursday by Judge Scott Washam in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.
Speaking before sentencing, Gorichky, 54, Kevin Drive, Alliance, apologized twice to the family of Fisher, several of whom were in the courtroom. He blamed alcohol for his actions, noting alcoholism runs in his family. Gorichky said he has noticed when he refrains from drinking things are always better in his life, but there are always ill effects when he drinks.
Fisher, 46, and Gorichky had been longtime friends and neighbors at the Country Squire Mobile Home Park. However, after a long day of delivering a refrigerator together and drinking, things reportedly went sour. It is believed Fisher had gone to Gorichky's trailer several times, and at one point Gorichky got a shotgun out of the bedroom, loaded it and went to the front door to meet Fisher. The gun fired and Fisher was shot in the abdomen. He died of his injuries.
Gorichky, who was already not supposed to possess a weapon after a 1990 felony drug offense, reportedly told investigators he did not mean to kill Fisher when he went to the porch.
Fisher's sister, Brenda Robbins, spoke before the sentencing, talking about how Fisher's death affected her family.
"I know they were drunk and we all do things we are sorry for when we are drunk," Robbins said. "But he wasn't too drunk that he was unable to take the gun down off his bedroom wall, load it, remove the safety ... Then he took the gun and made it look like (Fisher) tried to shoot himself. He made up stories instead of taking responsibilities for his actions."
Robbins said she hopes Gorichky finds Jesus Christ while in prison and is able to ask for forgiveness. Then she asked Washam to give Gorichky the maximum sentence.
Gorichky's daughter, Dakota Gorichky, also spoke prior to the sentencing, stating she and her sister wanted to offer their sincerest apology to Fisher's family.
"Our father is not a great man," she said, "but he is a good man."
She described a caring person who is funny and missed by his neighbors and family. She asked Washam not to give her father the longest sentence, adding she did not want her 3-year-old son to spend the next decade without getting to know him because another man came into his trailer wanting to harm her father.
While defense attorney Bruce Williams agreed with the presentencing investigation calling the death tragic, Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble disagreed. Gamble stated a tragedy is something that could not be avoided, but in this case it was Gorichky's actions that ended Fisher's life.
"He should not have had a firearm," Gamble said, "and should not have had one when he was intoxicated."
Gamble had asked for the eight-year sentence, including the maximum of three years for the reckless homicide charge and additional three years consecutive sentence for having a weapon while under a disability. Gorichky had pleaded guilty in April to reckless homicide with a gun, having a weapon while under a disability and obstruction of official business amended from tampering with evidence.
Gorichky, who has been incarcerated since the shooting, was given credit for 359 days served.