Austin Myers sentenced to death for killing former friend

Appeal forestalls execution date for Austin Myers

The Clayton resident was sentenced last month in Warren County to the death penalty for the murder of Justin Back, a 2013 Waynesville High School graduate, in January during a robbery at Back's home. The state high court ruled that no date of execution can be set while Myers' appeal is pending.

UPDATE @ 10:35 a.m. (Oct. 16): A 19-year-old Clayton man was sentenced to death today for killing a former friend in January during a robbery in Warren County and disposing of the body in woods in Preble County.

Judge Donald Oda II sentenced Austin Myers for murdering Justin Back, 18, in January in the kitchen of his home outside Waynesville. Myers becomes Ohio's youngest inmate on death row.

Last week, a jury recommended Myers should be sentenced to the death penalty after finding him found guilty - with death penalty specifications - of aggravated murder in the death of Back, a 2013 Waynesville High School graduate 10 days from enlisting in the Navy.

His co-defendant Timothy Mosley, 19, of Clayton, who testified against Myers in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole, is scheduled to enter his plea on Friday.

On Thursday, Oda decided Myers should be executed for his crimes during a hearing in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

UPDATE @ 8:40 p.m. (Oct. 6): The jury deliberated six hours before making its recommendation in the case against Myers, 19, of Clayton.

Judge Donald Oda II has set a sentencing hearing for Thursday, Oct. 16, on the other charges on which Myers was convicted in the trial's first phase. Oda, at that same hearing, will decide whether the death penalty should be imposed.

Sandy Cates, mother of victim Justin Back, said, "nothing will bring Justin home. Never would we think this could happen to our family."

Prosecutor David Fornshell, who brought the case against Myers, said, "when they read the verdict, I was sick to my stomach. I feel for Austin Myers's family as well."

UPDATE @ 8:04 p.m.: The jury has recommended death. His mother broke out into tears. He showed no outward emotion.

UPDATE @ 6:50 p.m.: The jury deciding whether to recommend life or death continued to deliberate at 6:30 p.m.

UPDATE @11:25 a.m.: Austin Myers took the stand Monday morning in his capital murder trial in Warren County.

Myers, 19, of Clayton asked the jury to spare him on behalf of his family.

"If you choose for me to die, it's only going to cause more pain and suffering for another family. Not me. I won't feel anything," he said during a statement Monday morning.

His parents and younger brother also asked the jury to sentence him to life in prison rather than the death penalty.

Myers was portrayed as a gifted musician with high academic aptitudes who mutilated himself and got into trouble after his parents split up in 2009.

The jury was then sent to lunch before hearing arguments and starting deliberations on Myers' punishment.

Myers and Timothy Mosley, 19, of Clayton both faced the death penalty in the case stemming from the slaying of Justin Back, 18, on the kitchen floor of his home outside Waynesville in January. Prosecutors agreed to drop Mosley's death penalty specification in exchange for his testimony.


The 19-year-old convicted of killing another teen in Warren County could find out as soon as today if he'll end up on death row.

Austin Myers could take the witness stand today to make a statement to the judge before a sentence is handed down.

It would be the first time Myers has spoken publicly since the case began.

If sentenced to die, Myers would be the youngest person on death row in Ohio.

Last week, a jury found him guilty of aggravated murder.

Prosecutors say he and Timothy Mosley strangled 18-year-old Justin Back to death inside Back's Waynesville home in January.

Mosley agreed to testify against Myers to avoid the death penalty. He will be sentenced sometime later this month.

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