CLEVELAND — A judge has sentenced 19-year-old Tamara McLoyd to life in prison for the murder of Cleveland police officer Shane Bartek back on New Year's Eve.
Cuyahoga County Judge John P. O'Donnell also sentenced McLoyd for her role in multiple separate robberies. While McLoyd will be eligible for parole at some point, O'Donnell believes she will be "in her 70s" before that is the case, due to consecutive penalties for the other crimes.
"You are a walking id," O'Donnell told McLoyd after he handed down his sentence. "You threatened, you stole, you robbed, and [you] killed without compunction."
Bartek, 25, was shot in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 4300 block of Rocky River Drive around 6 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2021. He was a two-year veteran of the Cleveland Division of Police, and although he wasn't working at the time of the shooting, Bartek's murder was later ruled a line-of-duty death, which allowed the city to assist with funeral expenses. He was laid to rest in Holy Cross Cemetery in Brook Park.
During proceedings, prosecutors said McLoyd robbed Bartek of his car while with an associate before Bartek attempted to disarm McLoyd. She then fired two shots, including the fatal one that hit Bartek, and both suspects fled. The additional defendant, Anthony Butler Jr., led officers on a chase while leading Bartek's stolen car but later pleaded guilty to lesser charges and received a three-year prison sentence.
McLoyd has been in custody since her arrest just days after the killing, and was found guilty last month of aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault, aggravated robbery, grand theft, having weapons under disability, and theft while being acquitted on an additional aggravated murder charge. Shortly thereafter, she was also convicted of multiple robberies around Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, and Lakewood.
McLoyd's mother Tasha spoke at sentencing, noting Tamara's mental health and behavioral issues since childhood and how she "tried" to help her. She acknowledged her daughter "has to go to jail for a long time," but argued against life without parole and in favor of treatment.
"She doesn't understand things like we do," she said. "She needs medicine."
However, Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Kevin Filiatraut countered past criminal history as a juvenile as reasons for a harsher sentence. Indeed, she had been on probation for charges out of Lorain County at the time she killed Bartek.
"She was given a chance," Filiatraut told the court. "She learned nothing."
A particularly emotional display came when Bartek's mother and siblings gave statements. His twin sister Summer, who now describes herself as a "twin-less twin," emphasized their deep connection while remembering how close the two became growing up in the foster care system before eventually being adopted together.
"I didn't get to say a proper goodbye to my twin the night he died," Summer said, through tears. "When she shot Shane, she shot me, too."
Summer Bartek pointed out that after shooting her twin brother, McLoyd went out and celebrated the new year. "While Tamara McLoyd was out partying and having fun, I was staring at my twin's dead body. Shane died alone, cold and wet between cars. He deserved so much better than that," Summer added.
Ultimately, O'Donnell decided against a life sentence without parole, saying he could not "in good conscience, in this case" impose such a penalty. However, he spoke directly to the Bartek family about the fallen officer's character and memory before announcing that ruling, adding, "If you disagree, I can't fault you."
The Bartek family had been opposed to prosecutors seeking the death penalty for McLoyd. "We are Christian," said Deborah Bartek, mother of Shane. "We just feel like we didn't want to do that."
In addition to McLoyd, two co-defendants in the separate spree of robberies were also sentenced: 30-year-old Jermaine Hagwood received 36 1/2 years behind bars, while 19-year-old Jada Hite will serve 18 years after pleading guilty.
You can watch today's full proceedings in the player below: