Charges in fatal Hanover Twp. stabbing dismissed; act was self-defense

Charges have been dismissed against a Hamilton man charged after a fatal stabbing last month in Hanover Twp.

An altercation between two men during the late night hours of Oct. 21 on Darrtown Road resulted in the death of 39-year-old Rick Wagers and the arrest of Justin Nix the next day.

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Nix, 30, was arrested in Hamilton and after questioning by detectives. He was charged with felonious assault and involuntary manslaughter. He has been held in the Butler County Jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond set at arraignment in area court.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 4 in Area I Court, but the case was presented directly a grand jury that declined to indict Nix on any charges, according to Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser.

The day of the incident, deputies were dispatched to the 2000 block of Darrtown Road about 11:30 p.m. on a report of a stabbing.

It was reported that a physical altercation took place between the two men. Wagers suffered a knife injury to the upper chest. He was transported by friends to Kettering Health Hamilton, where he was later pronounced dead.

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Nix’s attorney Frank Schiavone IV said his client acted in self-defense.

“There were multiple eye witnesses,” Schiavone said, adding it is his belief Wagers had a weapon, a gun or stun gun, at the time of the confrontation. He also said there is evidence Nix was going to be a victim of a robbery at the residence

“I am happy with the process. The process worked and that is why we have it,” Schiavone said.

Gmoser said this was a case mutual fighting between two adults.

“Based upon the totality of the circumstances there was mutual combat between two warring adults that led to one protecting himself with means of one stab by a deadly weapon resulting in the death of another individual,” Gmoser said. “Those are the circumstances that the grand jury had to deal to consider. They considered all of the evidence. The sheriff did an excellent job of getting the grand jury the tools to work with as far as deciding this case.”

Dispatchers received three 911 calls, including one from a Darrtown Road resident who said there was a lot of fighting next door.

“Now there is somebody out in the road yelling and screaming,” the caller said.

Nicholas Wagers called 911 and said someone had stabbed his brother in the neck. He was getting belongings out of a truck that the suspect drove to his residence when Nix stabbed his brother and they took off in vehicles heading toward Hamilton, he told dispatchers.

Nicholas Wagers, who lives at the Darrtown Road residence, told deputies he was getting tools out of a truck when Rick Wagers came outside and got into an altercation with Justin.

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