Breck manslaughter convict Miles Tovar given 14 years for ‘vicious, drunken rage’ 

Summit County court was eerily empty today at the sentencing for Miles Tovar, 40, found guilty of killing 29-year-old Brendan Rye in a drunken rage more than four years ago. 

Judge Karen Romeo sentenced Tovar to 14 years in jail: 12 years for manslaughter and two years for criminal trespassing. 

Before the sentencing a district attorney read letters from Rye’s family and friends. They remembered him as a quiet and kind traveler, who would never harm a bug, but just might put one down your shirt to prank you. 

In November 2019 Tovar put Rye in a headlock and choked him until he was brain-dead. Rye was put on life support. In a letter, his mother told Judge Romeo taking her son off life support was the hardest decision of her life. 

Tovar declined to speak, sitting still as the district attorney read letters. There was no one on his side of the court, except his attorney. 

The road to today’s sentencing was long and meandering. Tovar was not charged in Rye’s death until 2022, leading to a cross-country manhunt with U.S. Marshals. He surrendered peacefully in Connecticut. 

Soon after returning to Summit County, Tovar accused a public defender of fumbling his case. He found a new attorney and pleaded not guilty on four charges. 

This March, a local jury found Tovar guilty of manslaughter and trespassing. He took a bullet in the leg the night of the fight and claimed self-defense. The jury rejected his argument but found him not guilty of burglary and another criminal trespassing charge. 

Tovar’s attorney reminded Judge Romeo that Tovar’s long rap sheet has no history of physical violence, except one, in 2018 at Kickapoo Tavern in Keystone, where Tovar harassed a bartender and fought two employees. 

The D.A.’s office asked for 18 years, saying Tovar’s history of violence demands it. 

Tovar’s attorney called this unreasonable, asking for two to six years. 

“My condolences and sympathy to the friends and family of Mr. Rye,” Judge Romeo said after the sentencing. “This is an unfortunate, tragic event that in my opinion could have been prevented… A very bright light extinguished by a violent, vicious, drunken rage.”