Notebook surfaces in death penalty case

Prosecutors in a death penalty case in Warren County want to use a journal found last week, eight months after the alleged murder of a Waynesville High School graduate.

Justin Myers, 19, of Clayton, faces the death penalty if convicted of murdering Justin Back, 18, on Jan. 28, at his home outside Waynesville.

On Thursday, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said he expected Myers’s co-defendant, Timothy Mosley, 19, of Clayton, to testify that he wrote in the journal on Jan. 27 when prosecutors allege Myers and Mosley were developing a plot to burglarize Back’s home.

Fornshell said the notebook was found on Sept. 20 at Mosley’s home. Mosley is expected to testify for the prosecution today as part of an agreement in which death penalty specifications are to be dropped in his case.

Myers’s lawyer, Gregory Howard, urged Judge Donald Oda II not to admit the journal, noting detectives failed to find it during a search of Mosley’s home shortly after Back’s body was found dumped in woods in Preble County.

“There was no mention at any time of there being a journal,” Howard said. “Who knows who has been in and out of that house?”

Discussion of the use of the notebook followed the first day of testimony in the trial, expected to take at least two weeks.

Investigators and individuals testified as prosecutors recreated a chain of evidence stretching across three counties. Testimony, surveillance videos, photos and store receipts placed Myers and Mosley in stores in Preble, Warren and Montgomery counties.

Back’s stepfather Mark Cates testified that he watched a movie at his home with Mosley, Myers and Back, the day before they are accused of killing Back, a 2013 graduate of Waynesville, during a burglary at the residence.

Cates also recalled how his call for help was delayed when he failed to initially realize a crime had been committed and Back was missing. The jury also heard Cates’s 911 call.

“I’m thinking it might be some friends of his,” he told the dispatcher.

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