Anthony W. Conner, 62, will be 80 before he’s eligible for parole in the beating death of his father, 87-year-old Otis Conner.
Fourth District Judge Richard Greenwood sentenced the Meridian man Wednesday to 30 years in prison for delivering fatal blows to the back of his father’s head with the claw end of a hammer during a Jan. 3, 2013, attack. He must serve 18 years before he can seek parole.
Conner showed no reaction as Greenwood sentenced him at the end of a two-hour hearing.
“Otis Conner may have been elderly, but he was still full of life,” Greenwood said.
He also sentenced Conner to five years for destruction of evidence, which will run concurrently with the murder sentence.
The jury acquitted Conner of first-degree murder but convicted him of second-degree murder following a three-week trial that ended in mid-April.
Defense attorney Michael Lojek, who represented Conner with Ransom Bailey, faulted Greenwood for giving the jury the option of convicting his client on the lesser charge if they could not find him guilty of first-degree murder. Conner may have been acquitted completely if jurors were not given that suggestion, Lojek said following the sentencing hearing.
“We do intend to appeal this case. There’s no doubt about it,” Lojek said.
Dan Dinger, a deputy Ada County prosecuting attorney who tried the case with Brent Ferguson, said he was satisfied with the outcome.
“We appreciate the jury’s hard work and the judge’s decision in this case. We feel they did the right thing,” Dinger said.
More than four dozen people, including friends and relatives of the dead man and his son, packed into the courtroom at the Ada County Courthouse. Greenwood warned spectators at the beginning he would not tolerate any outbursts, and they obeyed him.
“This has just been devastating for my family,” said Randy Conner, who grieved for his father and later began to suspect his brother may have been responsible for Otis Conner’s death. “I don’t know how anyone could go through that and not be devastated by it.”
Another brother, Doug Conner, was overcome by emotion and left the courtroom after he addressed Greenwood but before the sentence was announced.
“It’s been hard on me, my brother, my family,” Doug Conner said. “My dad had the right to the retirement he wanted.”
Anthony Conner declined to address the judge.
“I have nothing to say at this time,” he said.
Conner denied killing his father. He reported coming home to find Otis Conner on the garage floor next to a toppled ladder. He maintained his father must have fallen off the ladder and died. Blood was found not only in the garage but inside the North Turnberry Way home the two men shared.
Prosecutors said Anthony Conner, a truck driver, was strapped for cash to make payments on his home, his commercial truck, a pickup and a motorcycle.
They noted that on the day of Otis Conner’s death, the same day Anthony Conner cashed a check from his dad’s account, the younger Conner received 15 calls from bill collectors.