Attacks on in-laws bring 25-year sentence

TAMPA — Alex Shevgert maintained his innocence even as a federal judge sentenced him Friday to 25 years in prison for ordering three attacks on his in-laws.

"All I can say, your honor, is that I love my family. I love all of them," said Shevgert, 53, of Sarasota. "I never did anything to nobody."

A jury convicted Shevgert in November of ordering three attacks against his in-laws, Grigori and Galina Komissarchuk. He was convicted of conspiracy to travel with intent to kill, injure or harass another person and two counts of aiding and abetting another person to travel and carry out the attacks.

Prosecutors presented evidence at trial that Shevgert arranged the attacks in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Sarasota between September 2006 and April 2007 after his in-laws stopped providing money for his failed business ventures.

The Komissarchuks' attacker beat them with a hammer, breaking their skulls.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Porcelli asked for a 30-year sentence. He also sought an enhancement in prison time by saying Shevgert lied on the witness stand.

Chief U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich granted the enhancement for perjury.

She told Shevgert she didn't believe he was remorseful for his actions, which she described as cold, calculating and vicious.

"I have never seen ... a family disintegration case such as this one," Kovachevich said, noting her 35 years as a judge. "It's just more despicable ... than any case I have ever seen. Mr. Shevgert, I don't know how you can live with yourself."

While she stood in support of her husband, Emelia Shevgert said in court she was "very upset" about the attacks on her parents.

"However, I do believe in my heart and my mind that Alex was not involved in the attacks on my mother and father," she told the judge.

The Komissarchuks testified at trial that the ordeal has torn them apart from their daughter. They said they'll never forgive Alex Shevgert for that, Porcelli said.

Edmon Vardanyan, a Tampa hit man who carried out the attacks, and two other co-conspirators pleaded guilty. Kovachevich sentenced each of them to prison in February.

Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Attacks on in-laws bring 25-year sentence 03/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 20, 2009 10:37pm]

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