Murderer's Appeal Rejected

ST. MARYS — Ohio’s highest court will not be hearing the appeal of a convicted murder who beat a St. Marys man to death in 2010.

On Wednesday, justices from the Ohio Supreme Court rejected a request to hear the appeal of Gordon W. Diggle III. Diggle’s attorney, Katherine Szudy, attempted to get justices to take up the appeal following a ruling from the Third District Court of Appeals in Lima, which upheld Diggle’s murder conviction out of Auglaize County Common Pleas Court.  

Diggle was convicted in 2011 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. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

“Upon consideration of the jurisdictional memoranda filed in this case, the court denies leave to appeal and dismisses the appeal as not involving any substantial Constitutional question,” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor wrote in a one-sentence reply to the request.

In her briefs, Szudy claimed comments made by Casad to law enforcement outside an ongoing emergency setting constituted testimonial statements, which should not have been permitted. Casad told first responders that Diggle had attacked him in the alley of the Friendly Tavern, which several witnesses testified to during the trial.

Szudy also argued the statements were unconstitutional because they were not subject to cross-examination during Diggle’s jury trial.

In his response, Auglaize County Prosecuting Attorney Ed Pierce rejected Szudy’s claims and argued the statements were testimonial in nature as first responders were obtaining information for the purposes of public safety.

Pierce also noted officers initially believed Casad may have been involved in a larger, ongoing altercation outside the bar.

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.