YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Hanging his head and crying, Joseph Faunda was led into court a week after pleading guilty to murder charges in connection to the January beating death of 84-year-old Mykola Iwaniuk. But before he could learn his fate, he heard from the victim’s children about the man they lost.
Through tears, Iwaniuk’s daughter Kathy Sklenar told the judge about her loving father who would help anyone who asked. She recalled the last time she saw him alive – it was the day before he died.
“He tipped his hat as he always did. He said have a nice day. Goodbye, I love you,” Sklenar said.
Prosecutors say Faunda beat the Iwaniuk to death during an argument inside his west side home. He also stole his car, which was found later in a nearby cemetery.
“What could an 84-year-old man, our father, grandfather, great grandfather have to done to deserve this hideous act,” Sklenar said.
The victim left behind half a dozen children scattered around the country. Many of them were in the courtroom along with spouses and friends.
“It deeply saddens me to stand here, to be doing this so unexpectedly. I shouldn’t be here,” said the victim’s son John Iwaniuk.
Faunda apologized to the family saying he will regret it for the rest of his life.
“It was an evil and cowardly thing that I’ve done. I will hate myself for it for the rest of my life,’ Faudna said.
Judge Maureen Sweeney gave Faunda a life sentence with no chance for parole for at least 25-years.
Iwaniuk’s son Nick Iwaniuk talked about Faunda’s time in jail and redemption.
“Twenty five years is a good time for him to think about what has happened and hopefully he could be forgiven by the powers that be,” Iwaniuk said.
Family members say by that point they too may be able to forgive him.