PDT Staff Writer
A local member of the family of former Portsmouth resident Tommy Ray Nickles, shot to death on April 1, says the Montgomery County Prosecutor has asked for the death penalty in the case of Anthony Lamar Stargell, Jr., 20, who had been released from prison only weeks before, leading Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck, Jr. to question his release.
“It’s shocking and disturbing when someone commits a murder 30 days after being released from prison,” Heck told the Dayton Daily News. “Much as the state wants to reduce the prison population for budgetary reasons, talk to victims and victim survivors and you will see the other side of that coin.” Heck told the Daily News it is unprecedented during his time in office to have someone commit a murder so quickly after being released from prison.
“He’s (Heck) pretty much calling the judge and the system out and scolding them that this kid was let loose, and he killed Tom within a 30 day period,” Tommy Nickles’ brother Randy Nickles said.
Stargell served six months of a one-year sentence for robbery, a felony of the third degree, which carried the possibility of a five-year sentence.
Dayton Police Lt. Mike Wilhelm also questioned why Stargell was released from prison so early, telling the Dayton Daily News, “People die when the judicial system doesn’t do its job. Ohio guidelines state that sentences are for punishment, but the other half is protection of the public.”
Tommy Nickles and his beloved dog Rusty were gunned down in an apparent robbery attempt at Quality One Electric, a business owned and operated by Nickles. Nickles and his dog were buried together on Nickles’ 55th birthday.
Now Stargell begins to go through the long process of going on trial for murder, which can take years.
“They are giving him a competency (exam),” Randy Nickles said. “It’s to see if he is capable of being put to death, which is a prerequisite in a death (penalty) trial. He has been assigned a special attorney with experience in death penalty cases.”
Greg Flanagan of the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said a pre-trial hearing for Stargell has been set for July 25, but no trial date has been scheduled.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com