10 years for manslaughter in Highland County criminal case


1 sentenced in Clermont killing; co-defendant preps for trial

By David Wright - dwright@timesgazette.com



HILLSBORO — A Cincinnati man was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter, tampering with evidence and having weapons under disability.

Stoney Behler, 37, received his sentence in Highland County Common Pleas Court six months after prosecutors say he shot Dakota Spurlock in the chest in what some have described as a “drug deal gone wrong.”

Judge Rocky Coss ordered the sentence be served consecutive to a prison sentence Behler is serving in an unrelated case which was expected to end in December. As part of a plea agreement, one count of abuse of a corpse was dismissed Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, one of Behler’s two co-defendants in the case, John Daniel Disney, 39, Cincinnati, appeared for a hearing as he prepares for his jury trial later this month.

With the permission of the court, Disney, who is also serving a prison sentence in a different case, will stay in the Highland County jail until Friday so he can review evidence in his case, Coss ruled.

Disney is represented by attorney Kathryn Hapner.

His trial is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 23.

Last week, the third co-defendant, Steve Davis, 40, Batavia, pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence, and, as part of his plea arrangement, agreed to testify against his co-defendants at trial. Davis will be sentenced later this month after Disney’s case is tried.

All three men were indicted in May on one count of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, one count of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and one count of abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony.

Behler also was charged with having weapons under disability, which is a third-degree felony.

As previously reported, Behler, Disney and Davis had arranged to buy heroin and “ice,” a type of methamphetamine, from Spurlock, but when Spurlock got in a borrowed Ford Explorer with them, Behler pulled a gun on Spurlock and said they intended to take his drugs and money, according to a bill of particulars filed in the case.

One witness said when Spurlock left a residence to meet with Behler, Disney and Davis, he had heroin, ice and $3,000 to $5,000 in cash with him.

According to the bill, Davis punched Spurlock, and Behler shot Spurlock in the chest.

Behler later told another person that Spurlock had pulled a gun on him, and he bragged about shooting Spurlock, according to the bill.

The three men then drove to Davidson Road near New Market and allegedly dumped the body in a ditch, the bill said.

“Behler took Spurlock’s shoes and wallet and other personal items and was wearing Spurlock’s shoes at a later date,” the bill said.

Behler threw the gun off a bridge into the Ohio River, according to the bill, and later showed detectives with the Highland County Sheriff’s Office where he threw it.

The bill said Davis allegedly continued to message Spurlock on Facebook after his death in order to mislead law enforcement during the investigation.

As previously reported, a farmer found Spurlock’s body with a gunshot wound to the chest. Blood samples collected from Spurlock matched blood found in the Explorer, according to the bill.

Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.

1 sentenced in Clermont killing; co-defendant preps for trial

By David Wright

dwright@timesgazette.com