It’s been just over a year since Joshua Amburgy fatally stabbed his mother at their Miami Township home before charging at police with a kitchen knife.
Now, 40-year-old Amburgy is faced with the possibility of spending the rest of his life behind bars. He was sentenced on Tuesday by Clermont County Common Pleas Judge Victor Haddad to a minimum of 41 years to life in prison.
That sentence comes after his guilty plea last month to aggravated murder and felonious assault, court records show.
What happened to Melissa Amburgy?
When Miami Township police arrived at 58-year-old Melissa Amburgy’s home on Valencia Drive on Nov. 1, 2022, officers found her suffering from multiple stab wounds in the basement, prosecutors said in court filings.
Ted Amburgy, her husband and Joshua Amburgy’s father, told police that he and his wife were hanging wall art when Joshua Amburgy tried several times to get his mother to meet him upstairs.
When Melissa Amburgy refused, prosecutors said, her son came downstairs and stabbed her seven times using a knife from his parents’ kitchen.
Ted Amburgy witnessed the stabbing and intervened by hitting his son with a chair.
“I’ve been in combat; I’ve been all over the world, but I’ve never seen somebody’s eyes like that,” he said. “I could see in his eyes the devil had taken over.”
Joshua Amburgy then fled the home, knife still in hand, but was confronted by police a short time later in the backyard of a residence on Geneva Court.
Prosecutors said police were forced to shoot him in the leg after he failed to comply with multiple commands to drop the weapon, instead charging at them.
Body camera footage of the incident shows there were roughly 12 seconds between the time officers first spoke to Joshua Amburgy and shots being fired.
Police recovered the knife Joshua Amburgy used to stab his mother, as well as a larger, butcher-style knife from his pocket.
Meanwhile, Melissa Amburgy had been flown by helicopter to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where she later died.
Killing had been planned for a month, prosecutors say
In an interview with investigators, Joshua Amburgy said he had been angry with his mother prior to stabbing her and that he probably still would’ve attacked her if she came upstairs as he requested, court records state.
He has consistently suggested that Melissa Amburgy was out to get him, according to prosecutors.
In planning to kill his mother, prosecutors said, Joshua Amburgy tried for a month to obtain a gun before giving up and buying a large kitchen knife from a local dollar store, though that knife ultimately wasn’t used.
Family says Joshua Amburgy’s mom ‘fought for him the hardest’
Joshua Amburgy was on probation for assaulting a police officer and had been living with his parents in suburban Clermont County at the time of the killing.
Though determined ineligible for a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, he has a long history of serious mental health issues, according to his lawyer, Bruce Wallace.
Melissa Amburgy’s family described her as a devoted mother and grandmother who spent roughly two decades battling the mental health care system in an effort to get her son the help he needed.
“He murdered the one person who fought for him the hardest,” said Jessica Amburgy, Joshua Amburgy’s sister-in-law.
Wallace didn’t dispute assertions that his client lacks remorse for his actions, but added that by pleading guilty he has accepted responsibility and spared his family the anguish of a trial.
“There was only three people there that day … but this is blown way out of proportion to where the news got ahold of it,” Joshua Amburgy said during his sentencing on Tuesday. “The story has exacerbated itself and I don’t understand why.”
Prosecutors and his family asked the court to impose a sentence of life without parole. He will be at least 81 years old before he’s eligible for release.