Family has choice words for Middletown man who shot wife at home

A Middletown man was sentenced Tuesday to 13 years in prison for the shooting death of his wife just a few days before Christmas last year.

Gregory Orona Jr., 35, of Wilbraham Road, pleaded guilty in June to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter with a gun specification. Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael Oster handed down a sentence Tuesday that is just one year shy of the 14-year maximum.

The courtroom’s front row was filled with family and friends of Cassie Sanders-Orona who died on Dec. 17 at the couple’s Middletown home. She suffered a gunshot wound to the chest.

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Many in attendance wore “Justice for Cassie” T-shirts and cried through much of the sentencing.

Orona was originally charged with murder and has been in jail since shooting his wife, but took a plea bargain June and pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

Many of Cassie’s friends and family were not in agreement with the plea deal.

Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Brad Burress said after talking with detectives about the facts of the case and the evidence, police were they were in agreement with the plea.

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Sanders-Orona’s aunt, Marlene Temple, wearing a pink “Justice for Cassie” T-shirt, looked at Orona during the sentencing and didn’t mince words.

“She fell in love with a monster,” Temple said, adding Orona had devastated their family. “She was going to leave him the day he killed her.”

Temple squared her shoulders and said to Orona, “I hope you, Greg, suffer so much in prison … they are going to beat your (expletive) in prison, sissy boy.”

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Kymby Royalty, a friend of Sanders-Orona, told the judge she did not think Orona deserved a plea bargain.

“He stood over her with a 20 gauge shot gun and shot her in the chest,” Royalty said. She added Sanders-Orona called 911 on 14 different occasions for domestic incidents before her death and no arrests were made.

Kristy Williams, also a friend of Sanders-Orona, worked with Sanders-Orona.

“I could see right through him. There was just something about him. I just wish she could have too,” Williams said. “He was violent, not only with her, but other people in the family. I just think he deserves the maximum.”

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Defense attorney Don LeRoy said Orona has taken responsibility for his actions and described the relationship between the couple as “tumultuous.”

Orona also addressed the judge before sentencing, offering an apology to some people in the room.

He said that many of the people present did not know him or his relationship Cassie.

“And about the 911 calls, I called six of those times,” Orona said.

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He said he was sorry for the “tragic accident” that happened because of his irresponsible gun handling.

“Cassie may you be at peace. I love you always, until we meet again, farewell,” Orona ended his statement with tears.

Orona maintained that he heard what he thought was an intruder outside their Wilbraham Road residence and that his shotgun accidentally went off.

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After sentencing Orona to 10 years for involuntary manslaughter and three additional years for the gun specification, the judge reminded those in the courtroom of the limits of the justice system.

“Justice is something that cannot bring people back, justice cannot take pain away,” Oster said.

Orona’s father declined comment after the sentencing.

Sanders-Orona’s friends and family were happy with the sentence that was given in light of the charge, but still did not agree with the plea bargain.

“He murdered Cassie,” Temple said.

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