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Robel sentenced to 21 years for murder

Gaven Robel

MOHAVE COUNTY – A Needles, California man was sentenced after pleading guilty Wednesday to killing another inmate at the Mohave County Adult Detention Center in Kingman. Gaven Robel, 26, is convicted of second-degree murder in the November 2017 death of Ryan Couch, 41.

Robel also pled guilty to fraud for using false prescriptions to secure large quantities of oxycodone. Prosecutor Sean Coll said Robel was less involved than most of the seven others who were indicted for their alleged participation in a Bullhead City-based opioid distribution ring.

Robel was awaiting trial in the drug case when he became involved in the altercation with Couch, his cellmate. Coll said the murder was an act of brutality.

Coll said Couch was rendered unconscious during the struggle and that Robel stomped him in the head 7-10 times after taking him to the floor of the cell. Robel then elevated himself on a bunk and jumped down on Couch an unknown number of times.

“Nobody deserves to die on that cold, dark concrete floor the way Ryan did,” Coll told Billy Sipe, Mohave County Court Commissioner and Judge.

Coll said the state agrees with defense attorney Sandra Carr who said Robel suffers mental health maladies and that he should have been on medications at the time of the murder. Judge Sipe agreed those factors likely prevented Robel from appreciating the wrongfulness of his conduct during the attack.

Robel offered brief apology during the sentencing hearing. “I keep the victim in my prayers,” Robel said.

Sentencing provisions were stipulated in the plea agreement. Judge Sipe imposed a 21-year prison term for the murder, followed by seven years of probation for the drug conviction.