After hearing the testimony, Judge Mark Wall bound the case to the Butler County Grand Jury and kept Orona’s bond at $500,000. He faces 18 years to life in prison if convicted. He remained in Middletown City Jail, according to court records.
Through her investigation on Dec. 17, Hughes said she was told by friends of the couple that Orona was “a ticking bomb” because of his domestic violence history. She said Sanders-Orona, 42, endured five years of domestic abuse and told her husband she planned to leave him the day she was shot.
Since late May, Middletown police have responded to the address in the 2900 block of Wilbraham Road about a dozen times, according to police records reviewed by the Journal-News. Several times, police were called to break up altercations between Orona and his wife and his father Gregory Orona Sr., according to police reports.
MORE: Middletown home was subject of several domestic dispute calls
Orona’s attorney, Morgan Kohler, questioned Hughes about any physical evidence of an abusive relationship. Hughes said she didn’t see any bruising or defense wounds on Sanders-Orona.
Orona’s parents refused to comment after the hearing.
Several of Sanders-Orona’s relatives and friends wore #JusticeforCassie T-shirts to the hearing, then quickly left for her visitation service. A benefit was held Friday night that raised $5,500, enough to cover her funeral expenses, her aunt said before the hearing.
MORE: Woman ‘got mixed up with a monster,’ family says
Hughes testified that when she arrived at the residence at 9:15 a.m. Dec. 17, there were six people there, including Orona’s father, Gregory Orona Sr., and Sanders-Orona’s 17-year-old daughter. She said Sanders-Orona was lying in the living room and she had been shot in the chest, near her right arm pit.
She said it appeared Sanders-Orona was shot in bed, then carried into the living room. She said it appeared Orona and his wife were the only two in the bedroom at the time of the shooting.
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