DOVER – Nick Gklotsos seemed ambivalent Tuesday morning about the sentencing of two eastern Pennsylvania residents in the 2012 strangulation homicide of his father.
While Joshua Lemonick and Angeline M. Terek sounded remorseful about a trip to Dover that brought the death of popular Hollywood Diner owner Michael K. Gklotsos, there was just no undoing the deed, either.
Lemonick received a 30 years in prison from President Judge James T. Vaughn Jr., and Terek got 25 years after earlier pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the Sept. 17, 2012 robbery gone horribly wrong.
“The reality is that in 25 to 30 years they will be allowed to re-join a free society, start families, and begin rebuilding their lives while heading toward some sense of normalcy,” Nick Gklotsos said.
“That’s something that my father and my family will never be able to do. My father was a great man, but he’s gone now and there’s no getting him back.”
The sentencing at the Kent County Courthouse brought no solace for the younger Gklotsos, who is reminded of his father each day when operating the Hollywood Diner that Michael established as a regular stop for many on U.S. 13 in Dover.
“Every day when I walk through the door I’m reminded of what my father built and what he stood for, so this (sentencing) isn’t really a matter of being able to find closure, move on or even say goodbye,” the son said.
Mr. Gklotsos was 59 when he died. Lemonick, then 20, strangled him during a struggle at the victim’s residence in the 100 block of Acorn Lane after a late-night home invasion designed to locate prescription pills and money.
An indictment alleged that Terek, 23 at the time, masterminded a plan to rob her ex-boyfriend during a trip to Dover, and Lemonick would “choke him out” if the victim put up a fight.
Halting at times to regain composure, Terek, of Bristol Township, offered a tearful apology before the Court to those affected by the homicide, including approximately 40 of who attended the sentencing and filled both sides of the courtroom.
She was preceded by somber ex-boyfriend Lemonick, of Newtown Township, who asked that friends and family remember the victim “for (being) a grandfather, father, friend.”
Goals, dreams lost
Dressed in a prison-issued Orange jumpsuit with large black “DOC” letters on the back, Lemonick began his statement by turning toward the area of the Gklotsos family and offering an apology.
“I let many people down during the course of my actions,” he said.
“I’m very disappointed in myself and never thought I would end up being there I am. I had a lot of goals for myself …”
Asked by media about the defendant’s statements, Nick Gklotsos said:
“I didn’t know Lemonick, so I don’t have any thoughts on his sincerity. I knew Terek, and do I feel here apology was sincere? Perhaps.
“It doesn’t feel like that matters too much, though.”
Deputy Attorney General Lindsay Taylor – joined at the prosecution table by co-counsel Greg Babowal - described Michael Gklotsos as a vibrant man who loved his life, and “was passionate about his family, his life, his diner, and his community.”
The victim’s daughter described her father as a 59-year-old with the energy of a 21-year-old, Ms. Taylor said.
“This wasn’t just a loss of a family member for the Gklotsos, it was the loss of a dream,” Ms. Taylor said.
Ms. Taylor read an impact statement from a woman present at the time of the homicide and pregnant with Mr. Gklotsos’s child, describing him as an “amazing, hard-working, funny, intelligent man.”
The woman said she suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and nightmares due to seeing the attack, and “it’s taken me a long time to walk outside” without being terrified.
Ms. Taylor asked for a moment of silence to be observed for the victim, but Judge Vaughn said there was no precedent for that.
Other charges involved
Lemonick also admitted to first-degree robbery and Terek to second-degree conspiracy in plea agreement papers signed in 2013.
On July 15, 2013, Tiffany Ferraro, of Fairless Hills, Pa., pleaded guilty to home invasion and second-degree conspiracy in connection with the trip to Dover. Attorney Scott Wilson earlier said his client – age 16 when the murder occurred - spent roughly a year at Stevenson House Detention Center in Milford. She is currently on Level III supervised probation.
After apprehension in Pennsylvania by police, Lemonick and Terek have both been incarcerated since Sept. 24, 2012; Lemonick is at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, and Terek at Delores J. Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in New Castle.
Lemonick was represented by Dover attorney Jim Liguori, Ms. Terek by Kathy Amalfitano of the Delaware Public Defender’s Office.
Prior the sentencing, Lemonick’s father Howard read a statement before Judge Vaughn, offering his “sincerest apologies” to the Gklotsos family and noting his own family had been torn apart.
Howard Lemonick described his son as an Eagle Scout and former athlete who always gravitated to the needy. He said his son was “manipulated and taken advantage by someone (Ms. Terek) who is more street savvy than he was.”
Ms. Amalfitano said Terek was challenged by her background since birth and “from the moment she was born she has had violence around her in her life.”
Terek struggled with bi-polar disorder and post-partum depression, and suffered from the “brutal” murder of her step-father, her attorney said.
Terek was homeless at the time of the homicide, but had lived previously with the Lemonick family who took her in, according to statements made in court Tuesday.