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Clayton man sentenced to death in murder of childhood friend has motion denied

The former Northmont High School student sentenced to the death penalty for crimes involved in the murder of a childhood friend had his motion for reconsideration denied by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Austin Myers, 23, had asked the court to take another look at the case despite a 7-0 ruling on May 17 that affirmed his convictions and the imposition of the death penalty.

RELATED: Clayton man on Death Row a step closer to death penalty

Myers was convicted in the death of Justin Back, 18, at Back’s home outside Waynesville in January 2014. Investigators said Timothy Mosley actually stabbed Back to death, but that Myers concocted and instigated the robbery that turned into murder.

The ruling filed Wednesday and signed by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor read, “It is ordered by the court that the motion for reconsideration in this case is denied.”

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Myers is scheduled to be put to death on July 20, 2022. The court previously denied Myers’ attorneys’ attempts to get Myers’ sentenced changed to life in prison without parole — the same sentence Mosley is serving.

RELATED: Ohio Supreme Court questions lawyer arguing for Clayton man’s life

Back, 18, was a 2013 Waynesville High School graduate who was going to enter the U.S. Navy in less than two weeks at the time of his death.

After Myers’ original sentencing, Back’s mother, Sandy Cates, said, “It’s bittersweet. It’s justice for Justin, but it’s never going to bring Justin back.”

Testimony showed Myers planned the crime, including acquiring septic chemicals he expected would decompose Back’s body, but that Mosley killed Back during a struggle on the floor of the kitchen after a garrote designed to choke Back to death caught on his chin.

RELATED: Co-defendant pleads guilty in teen’s death

Myers and Back were friends until eighth grade, when Myers moved to Clayton. 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’ attorneys, Timothy McKenna and Roger Kirk, wrote in their motion to reconsider that the state’s highest court’s analysis “was flawed and ignored critical facts” and that Myers’ death penalty sentence “is patently unfair when the actual killer received life without parole.”

McKenna and Kirk didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell didn’t return a message seeking comment but has said before that he anticipated the defense to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

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