A Clayton man admitted stabbing a 2013 Waynesville High School graduate 21 times during his former Northmont High School classmate’s capital murder trial in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
Timothy Mosley, 19, of Clayton said he stabbed Justin Back, 18, to death in January in a panic, after realizing he would be unable to strangle Back with a “choke wire” fashioned by another friend.
“That’s pretty much when I panicked,” Mosley, 19, of Clayton said Friday during four hours on the witness stand. ““I pulled out my knife and started to stab Justin in the back.”
Prosecutors agreed to drop death penalty specifications against Mosley in exchange for his testimony against Myers, a point defense lawyer Gregory Howard emphasized during cross-examination. Mosley still faces life in prison with parole.
Mosley also testified that he joined Myers in planning to burglarize Back’s home outside Waynesville in hopes of raising the money to erase a misdemeanor drug conviction and join the U.S. Marine Corps.
“You needed a way out,” defense lawyer Greg Howard said as he searched for inconsistencies between Mosley’s testimony and 140 pages of statements to investigators, which he reviewed before taking the witness stand.
Back was scheduled to enlist in the U.S. Navy in 10 days when he was slain on his kitchen floor.
Mosley testified about a series of burglary plans developed over two days, including some in which “no one was supposed to get hurt,” and others that were abandoned when they were unable to pay for supplies.
He said they ultimately decided on a plan to “make it look like a runaway” and removed Back’s clothing and possessions, along with his body, from the home in hopes of leading Back’s family to believe he had left home on his own.
But the wire caught on Back’s chin and the three ended up wrestling on the floor, Back “pretty much begging for his life” before Mosley pulled out his knife.
Mosley also recounted their steps to dispose of evidence in Preble, Montgomery and Miami counties, right up to when a police car arrived out front of his home in Clayton early on Jan. 29.
As they left the scene, Mosley said his trunk kept springing open, revealing Back’s body, which was dumped behind a log after Myers shot it twice with a gun taken in the burglary.
A page from a notebook, recovered last week by authorities, was projected on a screen in the courtroom over Howard’s objections. Mosley said he used it to take notes as they planned the burglary in his bedroom.
Scrawled notes included:
Crowbar wire duct tape
Take clothes, money,
State: figure as we go
Woods: no public
Wrap Up in Blanket
“We were going to go into the house. Austin was going to distract him, I was going to choke him,” Mosley said.
It was the second day of testimony. The trial is expected to take at least two weeks.