Moonda Gets Life without Parole in Husband's Murder

By Hasch, Michael | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 22, 2007 | Go to article overview

Moonda Gets Life without Parole in Husband's Murder


Hasch, Michael, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


AKRON -- Donna Moonda tearfully vowed Friday to spend the rest of her life proving she had nothing to do with the murder of her husband.

"I am not a murderer ... I stand here innocent, as God is my witness," Moonda, 48, of Hermitage, said a few moments before she was sentenced to life in prison without parole for her conviction on charges of hiring her lover to kill Dr. Gulam Moonda.

"I have never, ever claimed to be a perfect person without faults. My faults do not make me guilty of murder," Moonda told U.S. District Judge David D. Dowd Jr., who also sentenced her to 30 years in prison for her conviction on charges of interstate stalking and firearm violations resulting in the death of her husband.

Moonda, dressed in a faded orange and grayish-white jail uniform, talked in a halting voice and cried as she spoke in court for the first time about the death of her 69-year-old husband, who was fatally shot May 13, 2005, along the Ohio Turnpike near Cleveland.

"I never planned or was involved in any way with killing Gulam. I had absolutely no part of it," Moonda said, pausing to wipe tears from her eyes. "Gulam did not deserve to die."

The admitted gunman, Damian Ray Bradford, testified during her trial this summer that he killed the prominent Mercer County physician because Donna Moonda promised him a share of her husband's multimillion-dollar estate.

Bradford, 26, a small-town Beaver County drug dealer who met Donna Moonda in a drug rehabilitation facility, was the government's key witness against her. In exchange for his cooperation, he was sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison.

"I have made very poor choices," Moonda admitted. "I apologize to everyone affected by my affair with Damian Bradford. I have no excuse for my actions but they had nothing to do with Gulam's murder. I am truly suffering for I blame myself ... If I never met Damian Bradford, Gulam would be alive today.

"I can not forgive myself. I wish I had never met Damian Bradford. He was a predator. I was his prey and I never had a chance," Moonda said as two of her sisters watched in silence.

"Today I am disgusted in myself (that) I could love someone so evil. He only saw me as a dollar sign," Moonda said.

Moonda, her husband and her mother, Dorothy Smouse, 76, were driving to Toledo when they stopped at an emergency pull-over to change drivers. …

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