To Holly Miktarian, it wasn’t the end of the book, but rather just the end of another chapter.
For her and her young daughter, their lives were forever altered the July morning in 2008 when her husband, Twinsburg police Officer Josh Miktarian, was shot and killed during a traffic stop.
For everyone close to the fallen officer, Ashford Thompson’s death still looms on the final pages of the tragic novel. Thompson is on Ohio’s death row for the execution-style killing of the officer.
On Wednesday, Thompson’s sister and his former girlfriend appeared in a Cuyahoga County courtroom for sentencing in their respective roles immediately after Thompson shot the 33-year-old officer five times in the head.
The convicted killer’s former girlfriend, Danielle Roberson, 27, along with Thompson’s sister, Bridget Robinson, 37, of Bedford Heights, were each given suspended one-year prison sentences and two years of probation.
Roberson, who was with Thompson during the traffic stop that preceded the shooting, was also given six months of house arrest.
Each woman had previously pleaded guilty to attempted obstructing justice charges.
A former police officer for eight years, Holly Miktarian accepted the sentence handed down to the women by Common Pleas Judge Daniel Gaul in his courtroom overfilled with law enforcement officers.
For the widowed mother, the sentencing hearing was an important step, she said.
“We’ll never forget him and it’s always going to be a raw subject,” Holly Miktarian said after the hearing. “But I truly believe that now that we have this behind us, he can rest peacefully.”
Roberson, a single mother of three who had dated Thompson for about two years, apologized to Holly Miktarian in court. She denied helping Thompson flee the scene. She also denied serving as a distraction for Thompson, who was angry over being stopped outside his home for blaring his car stereo.
Prosecutors say Thompson was livid and exited his car with his gun to confront the officer. They contend Josh Miktarian was focusing on Thompson when Roberson exited the car, changing the momentum of the traffic stop.
After the shooting, Thompson, then 23, and Roberson drove away to his sister’s home.
“You are the reason my husband is dead,” Holly Miktarian told Roberson in court.
Police Chief Christopher Noga went further, contending in court that Roberson, a health worker, acted with indifference to the dying officer.
“[Roberson] saw Ashford Thompson execute a police officer in cold blood and did nothing to assist Officer Miktarian,” Twinsburg police Chief Christopher Noga said in court.
Sister assists killer
Once in Bedford, Thompson’s sister tried to help him remove the handcuffs Miktarian had managed to lock on the suspect’s one wrist. Robinson also was preparing to give her car to Thompson or Roberson, prosecutors said.
Robinson also apologized to Holly Miktarian, telling her she had no idea the gravity of her brother’s action when he appeared unexpectedly about 2 a.m., minutes after the shooting.
“It was something I never fathomed,” she said.
Officer Miktarian was a new father at the time of his death. His daughter, Thea, is now nearly 5 years old and preparing for kindergarten this fall. Once a year, her mother said, she sings “Happy Birthday” over her decorated father’s grave. And every U.S. flag the little girl passes, the colors spark her to say, “It’s daddy’s flag.”
Holly Miktarian said her daughter is the “spitting image” of the fallen officer and a positive, ever-present reminder of his abbreviated life.
“I think we’re doing a good job of keeping his memory alive,” Holly Miktarian said. “It’s hard. But I think she’ll be a proud daughter.”