Sad, Emotional Day in Clarion County Courtroom When Damien Ditz was Sentenced for Murder of Katrina Seaburn
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A sad, emotional day would be the only way to describe the scene inside the second-floor courtroom at the Clarion County Courthouse on Wednesday when Damien Ditz of Clarion was sentenced for the murder of his girlfriend Katrina Seaburn of Curwensville by Clarion County Judge James Arner.
(Photo above by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography.)
A fairly packed courtroom that included over 50 people in support of Seaburn, many of them wearing a purple memorial shirt with Seaburn’s picture on the front and “Justice for Katrina” written on the back, as well as a handful of Ditz’s family members listened to both Tammy Seaburn, Katrina’s mom, and Fred Ditz, Damien’s dad, plead with Arner for what they believed should be a proper sentence.
Damien Ditz, himself, also talked briefly stating he loved Katrina and did not murder her – despite a jury of seven women and five men finding him guilty of third-degree murder on December 7, 2018.
In the end, no one was overly satisfied when Arner handed down a sentence of 10 to 20 years, and the judge himself acknowledged as much prior to handing down the sentence.
“There is no satisfactory remedy,” Arner said. “There is no sentence that will provide satisfaction.”
In a passionate plea to Arner, Tammy Seaburn had asked the judge to give Ditz the maximum sentence allowed by law, 40 years.
“Katrina was a gift from God,” Tammy Seaburn said. “I had four pregnancies, and she was the only one that survived. October 3, 1994, was the best day of my life. Motherhood is like nothing in the world. It’s an unbreakable bond.”
Tammy Seaburn told Arner of how Katrina grew so quickly and how her daughter loved both the outdoors and twirling her baton.
“She was at ease twirling her baton,” Tammy Seaburn said. “She was at ease twirling three batons at one time and then imagine it with fire.”
Tammy Seaburn said her daughter was a multi-talented student-athlete who also played soccer, softball, volleyball, and basketball at Curwensville.
“She gave more than 100 percent to her coaches, teammates, and school district,” Tammy Seaburn said.
Saying her daughter, a 2013 graduate of Curwensville, was also a great student, Tammy Seaburn told the judge that Katrina graduated in the Top 10 of her class and was a member of the National Honor Society.
Tammy Seaburn went on to say that Katrina joined the Clarion University marching band and majorettes.
“She was a captain three of her four years,” Tammy Seaburn said.
According to Tammy Seaburn, when her daughter came home for the summer in 2014, 2015, and 2016, she was always single. But, every time she went back to Clarion, Ditz would find his way back into her life.
“Damien worked his way back into her life and manipulated her when she was in Clarion,” Tammy Seaburn said.
According to Tammy Seaburn, her life was turned upside down the day Ditz shot and killed her daughter on March 1, 2017, at a trailer park near Lake Lucy, in Washington Township, Clarion County, Pa.
“My life changed forever,” Tammy Seaburn said. “It’s impossible to express how it impacted me, my family, and her friends. It’s hard to get out of bed, to push to live a normal life. My daughter is gone. My only child. It’s an unbearable pain. I’m literally heartbroken. It’s here forever.”
Tammy Seaburn told Arner how just looking at Katrina’s photos reminds her of how she will never get to take another picture of her daughter.
“She never gets to graduate (college),” Tammy Seaburn said. “She was just weeks away. She worked so hard. She will never get to marry. She will have no children, no grandchildren. She would have made a difference in this world. Damien took that from us.”
Tammy Seaburn pleaded with Arner to take a stand against domestic violence.
“Our society must not allow domestic violence,” Seaburn said. “But, it continues because we allow it.”
Clarion County District Attorney Mark Aaron called Tammy Seaburn’s emotional plea “an excellent recitation of how (her daughter’s murder) affected her.”
“It basically destroyed her life,” Aaron said. “Not just her daughter Katrina’s life, but her life, Katrina’s father’s life, and you saw the courtroom. I didn’t count, but there were probably 100 (closer to 50) people here to express their support and their appreciation of Katrina’s life.”
Tammy Seaburn wasn’t the only one to make an emotional plea to Arner, as Fred Ditz gave a much briefer but no less heartfelt plea to the judge.
“I’m so sorry,” a weeping Fred Ditz said. “My heart goes out to everyone. My boy is a good boy. He was no trouble growing up. Please have mercy for me.”
Damien Ditz also addressed Tammy Seaburn and the others who were there to support Katrina Seaburn.
“I loved Katrina,” Damien Ditz said. “I didn’t murder her. If she said jump, I said ‘how high.’ I wasn’t an abusive monster.”
Tammy Seaburn wasn’t taking Damien Ditz’s statement to heart, and during her plea to Arner, she turned to Ditz and addressed him personally.
“Damien, you murdered Katrina,” Tammy Seaburn said. “You say it was over money. You took a loaded 45-caliber handgun that you knew was loaded with hollow-point (bullets) and pointed at her and pulled the trigger. Shame, shame on you. We may never know why, but God knows, and you will have to answer again.”
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