Judge John Hoffmann sentenced Kevin Lombard, 25, to 30 years in prison and 20 years of extended supervision Monday, May 20.
Lombard was convicted of first-degree reckless homicide.
On Aug. 12, 2011, he strangled 18-year-old Amelia Anne Schmitz at the America’s Best Value Inn in New London, where the two of them were staying.
During sentencing, Hoffmann noted Lombard had an extensive criminal record.
“Since age 13, Mr. Lombard has basically been out of control,” Hoffmann said. “His past record, both in juvenile court and in adult court, speaks volumes.”
At the time of Schmitz’s death, Lombard was absconding from a halfway house, where he was on extended supervision after being released from prison.
He and Schmitz were driving from Richfield to his grandparents’ home in Eagle River.
Lombard had been convicted of battery to an officer in Washington County in April 2007 and placed on three years of probation with six months in jail.
In March 2009, his probation in Washington County was revoked after he was arrested in Milwaukee County for fleeing an officer. He was sentenced to two years in prison and five years of extended supervision in Washington County.
“Because of his conduct, I think he poses a great risk to re-offend,” Hoffmann said, regarding Lombard’s potential threat to society. “I’m not prone to be a risk-taker.”
District Attorney John Snider described how Lombard, before he called 911 to report his girlfriend was not breathing, left the hotel room, went outside with his cellphone and called his mother. Twice.
Lombard told police he and his girlfriend had been drinking, when she “started hitting me and stuff,” and he put her in a headlock to calm her down.
“The toxicology report makes a lie of his account,” Snider said, adding there was no evidence the victim had been drinking.
Lombard, however, was intoxicated at the time of his arrest.
Snider also took issue with assertions by Lombard’s defense counsel, Troy Nielsen, that the defendant could turn his life around if given sufficient treatment for his mental health problems.
“A tremendous amount of time and treasure have been devoted to trying to turn him around,” Snider said. “Yet, he caused the death of probably the most positive and supportive person he ever knew.”
Snider asked that Lombard be sentenced to 30 years in prison due to his violent criminal history.
“What is justice for Amelia?” Snider asked. “What is a just sentence for this offender?”
Nielsen argued Lombard’s decision to call his mother before calling 911 was made in a moment of panic, rather than out of malice.
Nielsen also defended Lombard’s account of what happened in that room.
“She became aggressive,” Nielsen said. “It’s not unreasonable that she acted the way that Kevin said she did.”
He said Lombard’s conflicting accounts regarding how long and how hard he held the victim in a headlock were due to a foggy memory after being questioned by police for several hours.
Nielsen attributed Lombard’s ongoing criminal behavior to an absent biological father, who committed suicide, and an abusive step-father.
After observing Lombard was convicted of reckless homicide rather than intentional homicide, Hoffmann said, “This sentencing hearing is not going to be able to determine what happened in that room.”
However, the judge also noted taking the life of another person, whether it was intentional or not, was a serious offense which impacted both the victim and her family.
“No sentencing could make up for the parents’ loss of their daughter,” Hoffmann said.