An Akron man was in court Wednesday — though not in the traditional sense — for the sentencing of his son and daughter-in-law for stealing his life savings of $600,000.

Michael Kaplan, Herbert Story’s court-appointed guardian, brought a box containing Story’s cremains to the hearing and placed them on the podium.

“I promised him that someday we would stand side-by-side and say to his son and daughter-in-law that they had abused him and stole from him and, worst of all, that they had lied to him when he trusted them with everything,” Kaplan said. “So, today, I am keeping my word.”

Kaplan said Herbert Story, 78, died alone, penniless in a nursing home last June, wearing ill-fitting clothes because he had no access to his money that was stolen by Kevin Story, his son, and Crystal Hennacy, his daughter-in-law, and then tied up in the criminal case against the two of them.

Kaplan’s remarks were among the highlights in an emotional sentencing that concluded a theft case that had been pending in Summit County Common Pleas Court for a year and a half — and one that has raised questions about elder abuse and how victims of abuse are treated.

Judge Jill Flagg Lanzinger sentenced Kevin Story, who cooperated with prosecutors, to four years in prison and Hennacy to nine years. Story faced 11 years, while Hennacy could have received up to 14 years.

Hennacy left the courtroom screaming and struggling with deputies, clearly shocked by the length of her sentence.

“He took everything from me!” she yelled, referring to Kevin Story, whom she claims was more to blame for the theft.

Prosecutors say Kevin Story and Hennacy stole more than $600,000 from Herbert Story over several months in 2016. They say the couple had access to the elder Story’s accounts and used his money to buy a house, several vehicles, firearms, jewelry and a second honeymoon. The two were arrested in November 2016.

Story, 47, of Akron, pleaded guilty this month to theft from a person in a protected class, a first-degree felony, and criminal forfeiture specifications. Hennacy, 46, of Akron, pleaded no contest and was found guilty of this charge, as well as having weapons while under disability, which means she was prohibited from having a firearm.

Assistant Prosecutor Pete Daly said Herbert Story worked at Sugardale Foods for many years and was very frugal. He said Kevin Story and Hennacy, Kevin’s fiancee and then wife, gained access to Herbert’s money and began spending it in a manner the elder Story never had.

Story and Hennacy, who are now separated, and their loved ones and attorneys disagreed during their back-to-back sentencings Wednesday about who was most culpable.

Kimberlyn Story, Kevin’s sister, blamed Hennacy, saying her brother never got into trouble before he met her.

“She disintegrated into chaos our whole life,” Story said.

Because Kevin Story assisted prosecutors with the case, Daly recommended a four-year prison sentence for him.

Don Hicks, Story’s attorney, suggested that probation would be more appropriate. He pointed to his client’s cooperation with prosecutors, agreement to forfeit assets tied to the theft and lack of a significant criminal record.

Story said his father worked hard for his money, and he and Hennacy wasted a lot of it.

“I don’t know how I can recover what’s been lost,” he said. “I accept responsibility for my behavior, and I know I should have watched out for my dad better.”

Lanzinger went with Daly’s recommendation, sentencing Story to four years in prison. She also ordered the forfeiture of a 2010 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a 2005 Chevrolet Corvette, a 2007 Toyota Camry, a 2014 Chevrolet Impala, the funds in a Chase bank account, $25,000 in cash and several firearms. The proceeds will go to Herbert Story’s estate.

Daly recommended that Hennacy be sentenced to seven years in prison, saying she was more of a “driving factor” in the theft, including persuading Herbert Story to grant his power of attorney to her and Kevin. He also pointed to Hennacy’s prior criminal history, saying this shows she “uses dishonesty and deception for her own benefit.”

Jeff James, Hennacy’s attorney, said his client withdrew the funds, but the money primarily benefited Kevin Story. He said the vehicles and the Chase account were in Kevin’s name and the $15,000 in firearms were his.

Hannah Mallory, Hennacy’s daughter, said what her mother did, she did at the direction of Kevin.

Hennacy apologized and said Herbert Story was like a father to her.

“I wish I could tell him how sorry I am,” she said. “I never meant to cause him no pain.”

Lanzinger went above Daly’s recommendation, sentencing Hennacy to eight years in prison for the theft charge and another year for the weapons charge, with the periods to be served consecutively, for a total of nine years.

“He died broken-hearted and miserable,” she said of Herbert Story. “He lived in a horrible situation.”

Kaplan, who was appointed as Herbert Story’s guardian by Summit County Probate Court, said he tried several times to get money released for Story to improve his living situation, but the requests were denied because the funds were evidence in the criminal case. The attorney, who often serves as a guardian, said this case points to a need for better coordination among the courts and social service agencies in assisting elderly crime victims.

“We need to get our hands around elder abuse,” he said. “We need to work together.”

Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj.