One of the federal defendants in the alleged murder conspiracy against a Beavercreek man was secretly recorded talking to a co-defendant cooperating with government prosecutors, according to court documents.
Robert “Bobby” Caldwell was shot and killed Aug. 15, 2017, in a Riverside parking lot in front of three of his children. One of those children, Jacob, was missing for nearly a year, and last week he was moved from juvenile detention to a treatment facility.
That move came as multiple developments were happening in both federal criminal and related civil suits connected to the killing.
The attorney for Chance Deakin, one of the brothers of alleged shooter Sterling Roberts, filed a motion in Dayton’s U.S. District Court to compel discovery from prosecutors including 13 recordings from November 2017 involving Deakin.
“By withholding the recordings, and with trial scheduled to commence in about six weeks, the Government’s conduct is prejudicing Mr. Deakin’s ability to defend against the Government’s charges,” Deakin’s attorney Steven Justice wrote in a Sept. 27 motion.
Justice later added that the U.S. Attorney’s Office transcripts of the recordings didn’t exactly match those written by the FBI, justifying the request for the audio “so that we can listen to it, analyze it, and determine what is actually said.”
Justice declined to comment for this story. Prosecutors said they cannot comment on a pending case.
The co-defendant speaking with Deakin isn’t named in the motion, and a judge granted a prosecution motion to seal the exhibits attached to Justice’s motion. Roberts, Deakin and four others have been federally charged in connection with Bobby Caldwell’s death.
Roberts was indicted for cyber-stalking, stalking, using a firearm illegally possessed to murder Caldwell and being a felon in possession of a gun. Roberts and Caldwell’s ex-wife Tawnney could face the death penalty if they are convicted. Others indicted include Christopher Roberts, Deakin, James Harmon and Chandra Harmon.
An FBI spokesperson said Thursday that the tipster who provided law enforcement information that led to the recovery of Jacob Caldwell “wishes to remain anonymous.” The FBI had offered $15,000 for such information.
In other federal criminal case developments:
• Roberts’ attorney, James Fleisher, asked to file a motion under seal for a “seed budget” which will permit the attorney to become familiar with the case and determine what work needs to be done.
• Attorney Lawrence Greger withdrew as one of Roberts’ attorneys.
• Tawnney Caldwell’s attorneys asked for permission to file documents related to requested expenditures under seal. They also submitted additional arguments for their client’s trial to be severed from co-defendants in part because of prosecutors seeking the death penalty.
A civil lawsuit also has been filed against those criminal defendants and others alleging a conspiracy and misconduct by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.
Tawnney Caldwell’s civil attorneys have asked for a stay in that case or added time to respond to the complaint, saying that “allowing this case to proceed while a federal murder case is being actively prosecuted will substantially impair the rights of the Defendant” and that she may have to choose between “her money and her life.”
The plaintiff’s attorney argues against such a stay, arguing that as far as the defendant’s assertion that she didn’t contribute to the cases being brought simultaneously, “the facts alleged against her in the federal indictment and the civil complaint leave her protestations on the issue open to (at the very least) reasonable debate.”
A common pleas court judge has not yet ruled on the motion.
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