Butler Twp. shooting suspect bought guns in Kentucky, kept them in storage unit, according to records

A man accused of shooting and killing four people at two Butler Twp. homes earlier this month bought guns in Kentucky, despite knowing he couldn’t have firearms due to a previous charge, according to court records.

Stephen Marlow, 39, of Butler Twp., is facing more than 20 charges in the deaths of Clyde W. Knox, 82, his wife, Eva “Sally” Knox, 78, Sarah J. Anderson, 41, and her daughter, Kayla E. Anderson, 15, on Aug. 5. He was arrested in Lawrence, Kansas on Aug. 6.

Marlow was initially charged with eight counts of aggravated murder, four counts of aggravated burglary and one count of having weapons under disability. However, he was recently charged with an additional four counts each of aggravated murder and aggravated burglary as well as one count of tampering with evidence, according to Vandalia Municipal Court records.

During an interview with the FBI on Aug. 6, Marlow said he knew he couldn’t have firearms and “stated he deliberately circumvented that by traveling to Kentucky and meeting a private seller to obtain the firearms,” an affidavit read. “Stephen admitted that his purpose for buying the firearms was to carry out his attack against the individuals he believed to be a part of a ‘terrorist cell.’”

That same day investigators discovered a storage unit belonging to Marlow on Dixie Drive. Surveillance footage showed him entering the property on the day of the shootings and leaving minutes before the murders occurred, according to court records.

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Investigators found an empty soft gun case that would typically store an AR-15 style rifle; handgun and rifle ammunition; a manual for an AR-15 high-capacity drum magazine; an empty box for an AR-15 sight; an empty box for a long-range rifle scope, and rifle magazines that were loaded and empty, according to an affidavit.

Marlow told the FBI he kept the firearms in the storage unit to hide them from his mother until the day of the shooting, the affidavit read.

While being extradited back to Ohio, Marlow spoke to a Butler Twp. police detective. When the detective asked him how he felt about the shootings, “he said something to the effect of, ‘For me, it was an easy decision,’” according to court records.

Marlow is being held in the Montgomery County Jail on a $10 million bond. A preliminary hearing scheduled for Friday afternoon has been waived.

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