DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh’s office has noted the following updates to area criminal cases:
Thomas Crangle, of Aqueduct Street in West Akron, pleaded guilty to one count of rape, a felony of the first degree (because the child was younger than 10), and was sentenced by Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Judy Hunter to life in prison Feb. 21. He also was labeled a sexual predator. Crangle, 45, approached two Akron girls, ages 5 and 6, in September 2006 and sexually molested the 5-year-old. He fled in his red truck as people approached. The 6-year-old told the victim’s mother about the incident, and the mother called police. Two weeks later, the mother noticed a red truck in the area and called police, who determined the vehicle belonged to Crangle. He had three separate reports of gross sexual imposition and was listed as a sexual predator. Both girls identified Crangle in a photo array.
Gerald Varner, 26, of West Akron, was sentenced Feb. 22 by Summit County Common Pleas Judge Elinore March Stormer to life in prison for the murder of Thomas Rankin and the attempted murder of David Pulizzi, a co-owner of Da Vinci’s restaurant in the Merriman Valley. Varner pleaded guilty to aggravated murder with a gun specification, a special felony for sentencing purposes, and to attempted murder, a felony of the first degree. Varner shot his best friend, Rankin, 27, also of Akron, in the head April 28, 2006. He then walked over to the Da Vinci Pizza restaurant in the valley and shot Pulizzi in the shoulder. Varner left after his gun jammed, but Pulizzi recognized him as a former employee.