A trial scheduled to begin Monday for a Middletown man charged with murder and felonious assault in the shooting death of his wife has been continued until next year.
Bobby Jo Nitz, 45, appeared in Butler County Common Pleas Court last month for a pre-trial hearing and offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, but the prosecution rejected the plea.
Due a scheduling conflict, Nitz’s trial has been rescheduled for Jan. 22, said Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Jon Marshall.
If convicted of murder, Nitz faces 18 years to life in prison.
Nitz was arrested April 30 just hours after Crista Nitz was found dead in the bathroom of their Short Street residence. Crista Nitz was discovered by her 11-year-old daughter after being shot in the head, police said.
After the alleged shooting, Nitz left on his motorcycle and rode toward Meigs County, about three hours from Middletown.
One of Nitz’s friends told Middletown police he received a text that read: “I just killed my wife talk to you later.” The friend thought the text was a joke, then he received the next text: “I kill her sorry,” according to the search warrant.
Later, police received a tip that Nitz was riding to Meigs County to kill a deputy who works in the jail, according to the search warrant.
Nitz had a gun when he was arrested by Meigs County Sheriff’s deputies.
Nitz allegedly killed his wife of seven months after he found “phone numbers” on her cell phone, according to search warrants obtained by this news outlet. Middletown police later located the cell phone on the roof of the home, where Nitz told police he threw it during the argument.
According to Meigs County court records, Nitz had been arrested and charged there numerous times for domestic violence, disorderly conduct/intoxication, and passing bad checks.
Prior to April 30, Middletown police had never responded to the house on Short Street, according to police records.