Ali Marsh was found guilty last October in a bloody 2012 home invasion that killed a Strawberry Mansion man, seriously wounded his wife, and traumatized their two young sons.
But when it came to sentencing Friday, Marsh did not want to invade anyplace, least of all Courtroom 1101 at the Criminal Justice Center.
So, after telling court staff that "if you want me, you'll have to drag me out," he was sentenced in absentia by Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart to life without parole plus 56 to 112 years.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Selber said Marsh, 38, was supposed to have been sentenced Tuesday for killing paratransit driver John Paul Jr., 35, and wounding Paul's wife, Sherrell, 42. Marsh, however, complained of chest pains and refused to leave his cell. A medical exam was negative, and sentencing was rescheduled for Friday.
Defense attorney Coley O. Reynolds said Marsh did not want to participate in the proceeding.
It was not the first time Marsh's behavior had caused problems. At his trial last September, Marsh was removed from the courtroom after he testified in his own defense and accused prosecutors of "railroading" him and the judge of bias.
The first-degree murder verdict carried a mandatory life prison term, but Minehart wanted a formal presentence investigation.
Selber said Sherrell Paul, who survived 20 bullet wounds in the March 5, 2012, predawn invasion of the house on Cecil B. Moore Avenue, made a statement in which she turned and addressed her now-teenage sons. Paul, according to Selber, told them that she expected them to "work hard, do well, and succeed."
When Minehart asked Paul how she was doing, Selber said, Paul replied: "I'm a survivor."
"She is the strongest woman I know," Selber added.
Marsh's sentencing leaves his alleged accomplice, Charles Davis, 38, to be tried. Davis was not tried with Marsh because of a pretrial appeal about whether his wife's statement to detectives may be used against him.
According to trial testimony, the pair believed that the Pauls kept a large quantity of cash in the house.
Paul resisted, and the two men fired 12 shots. Paul was hit first and died in the house. His wife, a licensed practical nurse, survived in large part because her then-13-year-old son, John III, called 911 and stayed on the phone until police and paramedics arrived. John III and his brother, Jalil, then 10, were not wounded in the gunfire.