LIMA — Emotions were running high and the tension was palpable in an Allen County courtroom during a sentencing hearing for a Waynesfield-area man who prosecutors say set in motion an elaborate scheme to kill his ex-wife more than a year ago.
Family members listened from opposite sides of the courtroom Friday as Dale Agnew, 48, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the August 2018 attack that Lisa Agnew left her in fear for her life to this day.
Dale Agnew pleaded guilty in October in Allen County Common Pleas Court to first-degree felony counts of kidnapping and aggravated burglary in exchange for the state’s dismissal of an attempted murder charge in the case. Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Randall Basinger explained at length during Friday’s sentencing hearing the steps that Agnew took in plotting the attack on his ex-wife.
Basinger said the woman was forced to endure a three-hour ordeal that included being wrestled to the ground, bound, threatened with rape and being subjected to repeated death threats. The prosecutor also explained how Dale Agnew had brought rope, pills, alcohol, a funnel, several pairs of gloves, a gas mask, “a full bio hazard suit” and other items to the home that day. Basinger said it was his belief that Agnew intended to kill his wife “and make it look like a suicide.”
Basinger also presented to the court a detailed list, written by Agnew, on how to carry out his plan.
Prior to sentencing, Lisa Agnew said her former husband entered her house uninvited on the day in question and terrorized her by “doing those things that were just described” by the prosecutor.
“This has had a great impact on me. I still have nightmares. I’ve been physically abused and I’ve been mentally abused,” she said. Asking Judge Terri Kohlrieser to impose a lengthy sentence, Lisa Agnew said, “I hope you give me time to heal. I hope he stays away for a long time so I can get the freedom I deserve.”
Dale Agnew tearfully apologized to his wife and family, but during a rambling statement said he intended to commit suicide — not harm his ex-wife — when he went to her home on that day.
“I told her I was gonna tie her up and make her watch” the suicide take place, he said. “I would never do anything to harm Lisa.”
Kohlrieser grew visibly agitated during Agnew’s statement, telling him that he exhibited little true remorse and that his actions were simply examples of “classic manipulation” by some who knows how to control a domestic situation.
“I find the victim to be unquestionably believable. It’s clear this was a plan to kill Lisa Agnew and to conceal who did it and how it was done,” the judge said. “The planning that went into this was remarkable. I can’t imagine what was going through the victim’s mind as this was happening.”