Victims’ family speak at Kearns sentencing


PORTSMOUTH- Just before being sentenced to a mandatory minimum of nearly 30 years in prison for the shooting deaths of two men in November 2022, Anthony Kearns apologized.

Turning to the audience in the Scioto County Common Pleas courtroom of Judge Howard H. Harcha III, Kearns apologized to both his victims’ family and friends as well as his own.

“I never meant to cause ya’ll’s family pain. I never had anything against anybody that night. It was an accident. It got out of hand. I apologize deeply,” he said. “Mom, I’m sorry. To my brothers and my sister, I’m sorry. To my friends, I couldn’t imagine … I love y’all so much and I am sorry.”

The family and friends of Javier Luna and Abraham Pucheta, some of whom were wearing translation devices, spoke through a court translator about how Kearns’ decisions affected them then, as well as now.

Ignacio Luna Guatemala spoke on behalf of some of the family, who are originally from Mexico. Five of the family brothers are in Ohio, but his mother is still in their homeland.

“My mother is devastated. She cannot believe what happened. My mother said she cannot forgive him because of what she lost and her life is never going to be the same because of what she lost,” Guatemala said. “And also she wanted to make sure that I was here, fighting for my brother. She had to wait 30 days until the body was able to be sent back to Mexico so she could see him. Thirty days, she waited 30 days. Waiting. She couldn’t sleep. She was waiting for my brother’s body.”

Abraham Pucheta, 40, was a friend who had no blood family here in Ohio, but who had friends.

“We had to collect money to be able to send the body of the friend back to Mexico because he had no relatives here,” Guatemala said. “I had become responsible for him because he used to be my friend.”

Kearns was on parole for felony robbery when he shot the men in the early hours of Nov. 20, 2022 in front of Frank and Stein’s on Chillicothe Street. They were both pronounced dead at the scene.

It was when victims’ family friend Theresa Fisher spoke that Keans teared up and lowered his head to the table. Detailing she was a mother figure to the victims, she said: “I’m not blood relative, but I’m relative.

“Anthony, I don’t think you went out that night to kill anybody, and I think it’s sad for your family and our family. They’ll be able to see you. We can’t see Javier.”

Fisher asked Kearns if his grandmother was still living, that she had known and respected her. She remembered him coming into the dry cleaners where she and Kearns’ grandmother had worked together.

“I know this has broke her heart and I think you were raised better. You just had poor, poor judgement that night.”

Fisher will continue to grieve the young man she met when he was 14 who always brought her Mother’s Day flowers.

“Your family, they love you and they will be able to see you. It’s just … Javier? He was like my son.”

Harcha sentenced Kearns to spend a total of 28 to 33.5 years in prison on two involuntary manslaughter charges and two firearm specifications, which each carry a three-year mandatory sentence. He also revoked Kearns’ parole and added 657 days for a robbery charge for which he had served partial time.

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