Middletown man pleads guilty to shooting and killing his wife

A Middletown man has admitted to the shooting death of his wife in April.

Bobby Jo Nitz, 45, pleaded guilty today in Butler County Common Pleas Court to murder, avoiding a trial that was scheduled to begin Jan. 22. In exchange for the plea, a felonious assault charge was merged and a three year gun specification was dropped.

By taking the plea, Nitz decreased his sentence by three years. The murder charge carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years. Judge Charles Pater set sentencing for Feb. 13.

RELATED: Fight over ‘phone numbers’ may gave spurred fatal shooting of wife

Nitz killed his wife Crista Nitz in the bathroom of their Short Avenue residence. She was shot in the head. Crista Nitz was discovered by her 11-year-old daughter.

After the alleged shooting, Nitz left on his motorcycle and rode toward Meigs County, about three hours from Middletown. He was arrested on April 30.

Also as a result of the plea, Nitz will not face any possible charges in Meigs County, according to his attorneys Glenn Rossi and David Albrecht.

In October, Nitz offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, but the prosecution rejected the plea.

RELATED: Man who allegedly shot and killed wife had no criminal past locally

While Nitz was on the run after the shooting, one of his 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.

RELATED: Pleas rejected for man charged with fatally shooting wife

Nitz 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.

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