LISBON - Martina L. Michael, the former girlfriend of Nicholas Carosiello accused of helping him cover up his estranged wife's murder, was sentenced Monday to five years probation by Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike.
Michael, 22, Lincoln Avenue, East Liverpool, had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of obstructing justice and three counts complicity to tampering with evidence in the case.
Pike noted Michael, who has had several interviews with authorities and has agreed to testify against Nicholas Carosiello, "helps hold the key to ultimate justice in this case."
Carosiello, 33, Church Alley, Chester, W.Va., is scheduled for a jury trial in late September on charges of aggravated murder with a firearm specification, possession of drugs and three counts of tampering with evidence with a firearms specification.
Pike added that he had to weigh what was fair with what could be Michael's role in providing justice for Holly Carosiello, who was shot behind her husband's home in August 2011. Michael was credited with 263 days served in the county jail and was ordered to have no contact with any of the case's co-defendants.
The decision not to send Michael to prison for any additional time was not popular with Holly Carosiello's mother, Soni Reed, who was present at Monday's hearing and loudly uttered "ridiculous, ridiculous" on her way out of the courtroom.
Assistant County Prosecutor Tammy Riley Jones had requested 24 months in prison for Michael, noting it was similar to what another co-defendant, Anthony Carosiello, had received for also helping cover up evidence in the murder.
Prior to the sentencing, Jones had also read a statement written by Reed, who asked Pike to consider an even longer sentence than 24 months. "We will live with a lifetime of grief ..." Reed's statement read. "Two children still talk about and miss their mommy every day ... I am not the same person I was before her murder."
Reed's statement accused Michael of helping to plan the murder for hours before it happened and questioned why she did not call for help as Holly Carosiello laid dying. She further accused Michael and members of her family of posting things to social media, intimidation and driving past people's homes. She noted Michael was involved in a fight in the jail, which she boasted about.
"I hope she takes time to reflect on her past and move toward a better future," Reed said of her hopes for what Michael would do if she was sentenced to additional jail time.
Before she was sentenced Michael also made a statement saying she does feel bad for Holly Carosiello's family, especially her children and that she knows she made some bad decisions.
"I believe this was a huge wakeup call for me," Michael said, "to grow up, to not be so naive, to not be a follower, to go my own way."
Her attorney, Damian A. Billak, admitted Michael was involved in a fight at the county jail, adding her life was threatened by other inmates and when she was attacked she did fight back. Billak said it was actually Michael's mother who was making inappropriate comments on social media.
"We requested she stop because it was not helping anything," Billak said.
He also said there were never any accusations Michael participated in planning the murder and during the time of the murder she was under the control of Nicholas Carosiello. Once she left him and was no longer influenced by him, she cooperated with authorities and the prosecutor's office, Billak added.