Diggle Loses Appeal

ST. MARYS — An appeals court upheld the convictions and sentences of a St. Marys man who killed another man outside a local bar in 2010.

Judges from the Third District Court of Appeals in Lima on Monday rejected an appeal filed by Gordon W. Diggle III to his convictions and sentences on murder, felonious assault and aggravated robbery charges in the Sept. 8, 2010, beating death of Steven Casad in the alley behind the Friendly Tavern. Diggle was convicted of the charges last year following a jury trial in April.

Diggle's attorney, Katherine Szudy, argued her client should receive a new sentencing hearing because the trial court abused its discretion when it failed to merge the murder and aggravated robbery charges. In her merit briefs, Szudy claimed two additional assignments of error — ineffective counsel and the inability to cross-examine Casad during the trial to question him about statements made to various individuals before his death. Appeals court judges rejected all three claims.

Auglaize County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Pierce praised the ruling.

"We are pleased with the decision of the court," Pierce told The Evening Leader. "We were confident the court made the appropriate rulings during the trial and on sentencing that the sentences, under current law, could be run consecutive to one another as the judge did on the murder and aggravated robbery."

According to online records, Diggle is currently serving his term in the Toledo Correctional Institution. He isn't scheduled for a parole hearing until October 2035.