John Bedell has the latest from the courthouse.

Stargell sentenced to life in prison

UPDATE @ 6:12 p.m. 9/10/2014: Anthony L. Stargell Jr. avoided the death penalty in the murder of a Dayton businessman, but the 23-year-old will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The jury announced the decision Wednesday morning in Judge Gregory Singer's court, less than a week after the same jury found Stargell guilty of three counts of aggravated murder in the killing of 54-year-old Tommy Nickles in April 2012.

Stargell, who was eligible for the death penalty, will be sentenced Oct. 7 in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

Daniel Brandt, assistant prosecuting attorney for Montgomery County, called Nickles' murder a "brutal slaying," and said Stargell faces additional years for the other crimes he was found guilty of committing related to the killing.

"He will never again see another day of freedom, he will never again be a threat to this community, and he will die behind prison bars," Brandt said. "Make no mistake — he's earned each and every day of the sentence that was imposed upon him by the jury."

Defense attorneys declined to comment. The jury also had the option of life without the chance of parole for 25 years or life without the chance of parole for 30 years.

"I'm just glad he didn't get the death penalty," said Stargell's mother, Tonya (Brown) Bailey. "I apologize that my son did what he did. I wouldn't want nothing like that to happen to nobody in my family. I simply give my deepest sympathies to the family on my son's behalf."

Stargell was shown on surveillance video twice shooting Nickles in the head at his business, Quality One Electric, 838 S. Main St., on April 2, 2012.

Stargell was found guilty on all counts that included attempting to set fire to Nickles' business, stealing Nickles' van, taking surveillance equipment and killing Nickles' dog, Rusty. Stargell testified he had a drug-dealing agreement with Nickles and that he thought Nickles was reaching for a gun just before the shooting.

Stargell was just the fourth defendant to face a death penalty murder trial in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court since 2001. The others were China Arnold, who had three trials including her last in 2011; Duane Short in 2006 and Larry Gapen in 2001. Arnold was sentenced to life in prison, and Short and Gapen got death sentences. Other cases have started with death-penalty specifications but were pleaded down before trial.

Stargell's trial began Aug. 18 with jury selection, and opening statements and testimony started Aug. 25.

UPDATE @ 11:26 a.m.:

Judge Gregory F. Singer set Stargell's sentencing for Oct. 7.

With the jury's recommendation, the judge cannot consider the death penalty as an option.

Defense Attorney Dennis Lieberman said the judge has put a gag order in place and Lieberman will not comment until the sentencing takes place.

UPDATE @ 10:19 a.m.:

The Jury recommended life in prison without the possibility of parole.


We have received word that the jury has made a decision in the death penalty portion of the Anthony Stargell, Jr. case. He was convicted of killing a Dayton businessman in April 2012.

We have reporters in the courtroom awaiting word on that decision.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys played portions of the surveillance video for the jury that showed Stargell, 23, shooting two shots into Nickles' head at close range and shooting Nickles' dog, Rusty.

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