Huber hands down sentence for Clintonville killing
By Robert Cloud
Judge Raymond Huber sentenced Adam J. Ozuna, 25, Bear Creek, to 30 years in state prison.
On March 27, Ozuna entered a plea of no contest to first-degree reckless homicide for the April 11, 2016, killing of Matt Pagel near Clintonville.
Ozuna’s co-defendant, Zachary T. Hohn, 17, Tigerton, pleaded no contest to first-degree reckless homicide on May 23.
Ozuna appeared in court for sentencing on Tuesday, April 30.
Waupaca County District Attorney Veronica Isherwood argued that both men were equally responsible for Pagel’s death.
She described how Hohn and Ozuna planned “to do a lick,” which means they planned to rob Pagel rather than sell him drugs.
Initially, authorities believed Pagel met with Ozuna and Hohn to buy Adderal for himself.
Further investigation found that Pagel had agreed to obtain the drugs for his girlfriend, who was Hohn’s friend.
The girlfriend reportedly made arrangements with Ozuna to buy 100 Adderal pills for $200.
“Matthew had a bad feeling about the drug deal,” Isherwood said, noting that he purchased a small pocket knife from the same store where he withdrew $200 from an ATM machine for the drug buy.
She said Ozuna and Hohn picked up Pagel at the Clintonville Motel where he lived with his girlfriend.
Ozuna was the driver, Pagel sat in the front passenger seat and Hohn was sitting in the back seat.
They drove to several places, including an abandoned apartment, where Hohn pretended he was trying unsuccessfully to get the drugs, Isherwood said.
In describing Pagel’s death, Isherwood said Ozuna elbowed Pagel repeatedly in the face, while Hohn choked him from behind.
They then dumped Pagel in a ditch on Airport Road about one-tenth of a mile north of County Trunk D.
Ozuna told investigators that Pagel “was still alive, but gurgling,” Isherwood said.
Police say the two left, then returned to the scene to remove any possible evidence.
Ozuna and Hohn took Pagel’s wallet and his cell phone.
When deputies found his body, Pagel had injuries to his face, dried blood coming from his nose, swollen lips and significant bruising to the side of his face and eye socket.
Some of his clothes had been removed.
In Pagel’s pants pockets, investigators found DNA evidence that matched both Ozuna and Hohn.
“I believe the defendant (Ozuna) is as guilty of the robbery as Zachary Hohn and as guilty of the homicide as Zachary Hohn,” Isherwood said.
Ozuna’s defense attorney, Edmund Jelinski, argued that the two men were not equally guilty.
Jelinski said the autopsy report showed that Hohn’s strangulation was the cause of Pagel’s death.
He noted that Ozuna was guilty of hitting Pagel and guilty of driving away, but not guilty of causing Pagel’s death.
“He didn’t kill him. He didn’t intend to kill him,” Jelinski said.
Jelinski asked that Huber sentence Ozuna to seven to 15 years of initial confinement with 10 years of extended supervision.
Huber said he considered protection of the public and punishment for the crime when determining Ozuna’s sentence.
He observed that Ozuna has a crimial record going back to his childhood in Texas.
Ozuna was selling drugs by age 13 and transporting 50 pounds of marijuana at a time from Texas to Wisconsin while still in his teens.
He has two felony marijuana-related convictions and is currently in prison because Ozuna’s probation was revoked after his arrest for Pagel’s death.
While Ozuna minimizes his participation in Pagel’s death, Huber said it was a mutual plan to “do a fake drug transaction and actually rob Mr. Pagel.”
Huber also noted that Hohn was a juvenile and Ozuna was an adult at the time.
Ozuna showed “a complete lack of empathy with his victim and a complete disregard for the sanctity of life,” Huber said.
“I think protection of the public is paramount in this case,” Huber said. “Mr. Ozuna needs to be taken off the street.”
In addition to the three decades Ozuna will be incarcerated, he will also be on 10 years of extended supervision.