WARREN - A woman who was blinded in a vicious home invasion that claimed the life of her husband died Tuesday in an Austintown nursing home.
Katherine Melnick, 88, formerly of Wick Street S.E. in Warren, had spent several years in Meridian Arms Nursing Home.
''I still remember one of the most poignant moments I ever saw in the courtroom, was Mrs. Melnick taking the witness stand in that murder case,'' said Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay, who presided over the capital murder case of Andre Williams.
Williams remains on Ohio's death row for the murder of Melnick's husband, George, who was killed in the attack on the couple in August 1988.
Besides Williams, a co-defendant, Christopher Daniel is serving a 37-to-100-year sentence for convictions for manslaughter and attempted murder.
Katherine Melnick was blinded when Daniel struck her in the face with a 9-pound brick, causing the injuries to the eyes and leaving her unconscious for 48 hours.
Trumbull Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said Katherine Melnick managed to keep a positive attitude about life even after the crime.
''She had every right in the world to be negative or even bitter. But every time I saw her afterwards, she had a smile on her face. She was one in a million and will certainly be in heaven,'' said Watkins, who would commonly meet with Melnick in the nursing home while he was there to visit his own mother, who died about two years ago.
''If I would see her in the hallway and say 'hi,' she would say 'is that you Dennis,' remembering my voice,'' Watkins said.
An investigator in Watkins' office videotaped a general victim impact statement from Melnick in 1992 and updated the tape in preparation for parole hearings for Daniel or any future clemency hearing for Williams.
Daniel's next parole hearing is scheduled for September 2015.
Williams, meanwhile, saw his claim of being mentally disabled struck down recently for the fourth time.
A federal judge affirmed a decision by McKay years ago that denied Williams' mental disability claim without a hearing.
Daniel and Williams stole a video cassette recorder and a purse containing almost $2,000 in the home invasion.
Warren detectives had pieced together a successful case against the pair, using hair samples, other physical evidence and a trail of stolen cash and a VCR.
Williams, who also received four consecutive prison terms of seven to 25 years for attempted murder, attempted rape, burglary and robbery, is the one who used some of the stolen money to buy a $400 car and give it a $280 paint job.