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LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE: Tohafjian sentenced in Seneca County Court on Friday

Emerson “John” Tohafjian said little upon entering the Seneca County courthouse Friday. The only words directed to him as he entered Judge Richard Healy’s courtroom came from his father.

“I love you, son,” Carl Tohafjian, Sr. said twice, as the 48-year-old Fayette man took his seat.

Tohafjian was sentenced for what the judge called a “cold-blooded execution” of his ex-girlfriend and another man, and the serious wounding of a third person.

After an hour of testimony from the family of victim Lori McConnell and arguments from defense attorneys that the guilty verdict against Tohafjian should be vacated, Judge Healy delivered four life without parole sentences for the first-degree murder counts against Tohafjian. Healy also delivered maximum sentences on 14 other counts for which the jury found him guilty.

It convicted Tohafjian of the ambush-style attack on McConnell, Charles Andrus and Karen Zdunko on Virginia Street in Waterloo back on July 11, 2018.

Prosecutors argued the shootings were meant to silence a rape case involving an alleged attack by Tohafjian against McConnell.

“He is selfish and violent and will always hurt women,” McConnell’s son, Matthew VanDoren said. “He is a coward and will always target people he thinks he’s stronger than.”

Both McConnell’s son and daughter told the court Tohafjian was a monster who, through physical, emotional and sexual abuse, reduced the strongest person they knew to pure fear.

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