Suspect in Salem stabbing sentenced for slapping wife

LISBON – The man awaiting trial for stabbing a bouncer to death near a Salem bar last November will go to prison in the meantime for slapping his wife.

Robert Harmony, 45, East Fourth Street, Salem, was sentenced to one year in prison for domestic violence during a hearing Thursday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court. Harmony previously pleaded guilty to slapping his wife in the face at their home last July 4.

Harmony is scheduled to go on trial April 29 on murder charges for allegedly stabbing 23-year-old Gerrod S. Lanzendorfer to death on South Broadway. Lanzendorfer was found up the street from the Side Door, where he worked as a bouncer, although investigators believe the stabbing did not occur in the bar. He was stabbed 14 times.

Harmony called 911 and reportedly told the dispatcher he had stabbed someone after leaving the bar. He was found with a knife and told investigators he acted after being harassed and followed, which left him feeling threatened.

The domestic violence charge was a fourth-degree felony because Harmony had a prior domestic violence conviction, and the crime carried a maximum possible sentence of 18 months in prison. While public defender Fred Naragon requested a six-month sentence, chief assistant county Prosecutor John Gamble recommended a one-year prison sentence because of what he described as Harmony’s “record of violence.”

Gamble noted that not only did Harmony have a prior domestic violence conviction, he had also been convicted of aggravated menacing (twice) and aggravated assault involving use of a knife.

When the opportunity came for Harmony to address Judge Scott Washam before being sentenced, he expressed remorse for slapping his wife, who the judge has since left the country.

“Every time I’ve been in trouble I’ve been drinking,” Harmony said, adding he was attending Alcoholics Anonymous at the time and has continued with his counseling while being held at the county jail on $1 million bond.

Harmony urged that anyone with a drinking problem get help, “so they won’t end up standing where I am now.”