Clayton man on death row for Warren County murder seeks to delay execution


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Man was convicted in 2014 fatal stabbing of a Waynesville friend

A Clayton man who was sentenced to death by a Warren County jury for the 2014 fatal stabbing of a childhood friend filed a motion Wednesday with the Ohio Supreme Court to delay the execution pending resolution of his state appeals.

Attorneys for Austin Myers, now 26, filed the motion seeking an order to stay the execution of his death sentence, which the Ohio Supreme Court set for July 20, 2022. That stay of execution was granted until his direct appeal was denied.

He was the youngest person on death row when he entered the prison system.

In their motion, Myers’ attorneys said they were seeking another order continuing the stay of execution “pending the exhaustion of available post-conviction relief, including all appeals.” The attorneys said Myers was entitled to a stay of execution until he has “exhausted ... one round of post conviction relief, and one motion for delayed reconsideration ... in the court of appeals...”

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The motion said Myers is pursuing an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court that was filed April 21 and remains pending. His attorneys said, “With these timely post-conviction proceedings pending and far from being completed, a continuing stay of execution is warranted.”

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said this was a procedural motion as the case is early in the appeals process. He said his office will continue to push the case forward.

Myers was convicted in October 2014 for the stabbing death of Justin Back in January of that year at his home near Waynesville. The slaying happened during a robbery. Another Clayton man, Timothy Mosley, actually killed Back, but investigators said Myers instigated the crime. Myers and Mosley were both 19 years old then.

Trial testimony showed that Myers planned the crime, although Mosley ultimately stabbed Back to death during a struggle with Mosley and Myers on the floor of the kitchen after a garrote designed to choke Back to death caught on his chin.

Myers was sentenced to death. In his latest appeal of that sentence, he will be able to present evidence that wasn’t used in previous appeals related to his mental health, according to the March 2021 court ruling.

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Myers and Back were friends until the eighth grade, when Myers moved to Clayton and attended Northmont High School. Testimony indicated Myers was the one who decided they should target Back’s home, unaware the family safe contained only $70 at the time.

Myers took two days of preparation, including acquiring septic chemicals he expected would help decompose Back’s body, and shot the body before he and Mosley disposed of it in woods in Preble County.

Back was 18 at the time and a 2013 Waynesville High School graduate a week away from entering the U.S. Navy.

Mosley pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He testified against Myers at trial.

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld Myers’ conviction and sentence previously.

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But changes in the state law led to the 12th District Court of Appeals decision that the trial court erred in dismissing Myers’ petition that claimed his defense failed to present expert testimony during the penalty phase on adolescent brain development in conjunction with his age and mental health issues.

The appeals court returned the death penalty appeal to the trial court for hearing.

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