December 16, 2016
Youngest Death Row Inmate In Ohio Never Touched Murder Weapon, Teen Who Did Got Life

Two teens, Timothy Mosley and Austin Myers, had planned to rob an acquaintance of Myers, Justin Back. Austin Myers was supposed to distract Back, while Mosley was to choke the teen with a garrote that had been made out of two handles and a wire cable. The teens had planned that they would dump the 18-year-old's body and douse it with septic enzymes in order to help it decompose faster.

Court records from January, 2014, indicate what transpired that led things to get much messier.

"In January 2014, court records say, Myers and Mosley showed up at Back's home in rural Waynesville, Ohio, under a false pretense that they wanted to hang out and watch movies with the 18-year-old. Myers lured Back into the kitchen as Mosley came up from behind. But the garrote ended up across Back's chin, and not his neck. Back tried to escape, and all three teens ended up fighting on the kitchen floor. Panicking, Mosley improvised. He pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed Back 21 times."
Back begged Myers for help as Mosley continued to pierce his skin. Myers simply stated, "Relax; it will be over soon," according to testimony, as the Washington Post notes.

Back finally died from blood loss and his assailants cleaned up the scene after which they continued with their plan, dumping him in a wooded area in a nearby community, firing two rounds into the corpse, and pouring septic enzymes on him.

The two teens were eventually brought to justice for the murder. Although both Myers and Mosley had planned to rob and kill Justin Back, the results were quite different. While Mosley, who choked and stabbed Back to death is in prison for life, Myers, who refrained from helping Back when he pleaded for help, but did not touch the murder weapon, has been sentenced to death.

Mosley was able to strike a plea deal which spared him the death penalty, whereas Myers decided on taking the case to trial where he was convicted. The death sentence handed down to Myers is now being appealed at the Ohio Supreme Court.

As the publication explains, "The state's justices must decide whether Myers should have received the same punishment as Mosley, or whether he was more culpable and deserving of the harshest punishment of all — even if he did not strike the fatal blow."

Timothy McKenna, the appellate attorney of Myers, says that the sentence should be reduced to life without parole.

"The state is arguing that both defendants planned the murder, both are equally culpable," McKenna said. "If you believe that, then why is our client getting the death penalty and the other guy is getting life without parole?"

Warren Country Prosecutor David Fornshell, however, stated that Mosley is more deserving of the lighter sentence of life without parole due to his assistance in leading investigators to evidence that incriminated both Myers and himself. Fornshell then added that although Mosley was the attacker, it was Myers who came up with the idea to kill Back.

The prosecutor went on to note that there never seemed to be any sign that Myers would plead guilty, even after being caught on store surveillance buying the garrote, that therefore had his finger prints on it. Back's stepfather pointed out that Myers was the brains and Mosley simply was brought on to carry out the killing.

"Myers was the brains, but Mosley was the weapon that he used. He came up with all the plans to do it," said Back's stepfather, Mark Cates. "He chose to get Mosley to help him. He chose Justin."

[Feature Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]