Sheraud “Hot Rod” Waller, 27, originally was charged with murder, carrying a potential life sentence, aggravated robbery and other charges stemming from the Aug. 16, 2007, fatal shooting of Couch.
Waller pleaded guilty Monday to the reduced charge of manslaughter and robbery and immediately was sentenced by Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Martin to 23 years in prison.
Waller wasn’t arrested until 2012, five years after the shooting, because of witnesses too afraid to testify or unwilling to cooperate with authorities. Waller has been in the Hamilton County Justice Center awaiting trial for almost two years.
Couch, 22, of Westwood, was a rapper who was with friend Deangelo Matthews at Club Dream, a since-closed bar in an Over-the-Rhine alley bisecting the 1100 block of Sycamore Street.
Matthews, Assistant Prosecutor David Prem said, was “acting flossy” — a negative street term for showing off money — by flashing wads of cash and buying expensive alcohol that night at the car.
As Williams and Couch were leaving the club and walking to a parking lot, Waller and another man — authorities still don’t know his name — pulled a gun on Matthews. Couch, who was walking ahead of Matthews, saw what was happening and turned around and yelled to try to scare off the robbers.
That’s when Waller and the other man shot Couch, hitting him twice in the chest. One bullet in Couch’s body came from a 9mm, the other from a .380-caliber handgun.
Waller’s guilty plea eliminated a potential life sentence a murder conviction could have carried.
Waller told the judge he’s been to prison before on a drug conviction.