WAPAKONETA — A St. Marys man will spend 25 years to life in prison as consecutive sentences were passed down during sentencing Wednesday.
Gordon W. Diggle III was sentenced to a 10-year prison term on a charge of aggravated robbery to be served consecutively with a 15-year to life term on a murder charge for the beating death of Steven Casad on Sept. 8 in the alley of the Friendly Tavern.
Auglaize County Common Pleas Judge Fred Pepple issued the sentence after hearing from defense attorney John Poppe and Auglaize County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Amy Beckett. Pepple also heard testimony from Brenda Fischer, who had been living with Casad for 10 years.
Fischer’s voice waivered while she was spoke as the family representative during the victim impact statement before the court.
“I miss him very much,” Fischer said. “I don’t enjoy doing the things anymore that we used to do together. We were planning a trip to California and a cruise. I have no idea why this happened. It’s not fair. Steve was a good person and would have helped anybody.”
Then turning to Diggle, she addressed him as if a addressing a long-time friend.
“What I’d like to know Gordy, is why did you do this?” Fischer said.
“We treated you like family. If you needed money that bad he’d have given it to you.”
During the end of her statement, Fischer said she did not want anything from the defendant.
“I think the family should be reimbursed for the hospital bills,” Fischer said. “I don’t ask for anything. I got my memories. They mean a lot. I miss him.”
Poppe argued that for sentencing, the crime should be viewed as one continuous event and that Diggle should be sentenced with concurrent terms. Beckett argued that the crimes were separate events and that sentences should be served consecutively. Pepple agreed with the prosecution on the matter of law.
“The court finds that the aggravated robbery was a separate offense,” Pepple said.
“It was done specifically to preclude his ability to report him. The court finds that consecutive sentences are necessary to protect the public from future crimes.”
Credit was given for 126 days served. Poppe asked that time served from Sept. 14 to Dec. 22 while Diggle was fighting extradition also be credited, and Pepple said he would take it under advisement.
In addition to the prison sentence, Diggle was ordered to pay restitution of $11,115.21 to the family for medical bills.
Throughout the trial, Poppe and co-counsel Eric Allen voiced a standing objection to the admission of Casad’s statements as evidence under an exception to hearsay statutes. Poppe has encouraged Diggle to appeal the verdict and a notice of an appeal has been filed.
In her closing remarks during the trial, Beckett recounted the witness testimony and evidence gathered in the case that pointed toward Diggle.
Beckett said Casad’s death was not caused by the bloody injuries on his face, rather bleeding that occurred inside his head.
“This offense could have occurred with no blood at the scene,” Beckett said. “The fatal blow didn’t bleed at all externally.”
Beckett also recounted text messages, a cell phone call and other conversations that linked Diggle to Casad’s death. Beckett said Diggle’s conversation with Randy Simpson in a hotel room was “a confession.”
Before administering the sentence, Pepple reviewed Diggle’s previous record before the case, which was lengthy and showed a pattern of violent behavior.
Beckett said she was happy with the sentencing passed down.
“That needed to be done,” Beckett said.
“He didn’t have to murder him to rob him. It is so sad.”