Murder trial set for Monday

By Tom Corrigan - [email protected]



Identified as homeless, a Portsmouth man, Nathan Stiltner, will face a judge in the Scioto Court of Common Pleas for a jury trial beginning 9 a.m. Monday for the alleged August murder of the other Portsmouth resident, Douglas A. Thackston.

According to initial reports following the incident, Portsmouth City Police responded to a call at approximately 3 p.m. August 4. The call came from 1923 Thomas Ave., Apt. D (Wayne Hills Apartments) regarding an alleged shooting.

At the time, police said Stiltner, 36, fled the scene and officials launched a manhunt for him. At 12:30 p.m. Aug. 5, police issued a release saying Stiltner was in custody.

At the time of Stiltner’s arrest, police released very little information, stating the alleged crime was still under investigation. They did release information stating Thackston died from a single gunshot wound to the upper abdomen.

During a recent conversation regarding the case, Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware declined to go into any details regarding the alleged crime, noting Stiltner was about ready to go to trial. He specifically declined to talk about any motive in the incident, noting such information would be contained in investigative reports which he stated are not public information prior to criminal trials.

According to the indictment against Stiltner handed down by a Scioto County Grand Jury on Aug. 23, Stiltner is charged with a total of four counts, most notably aggravated murder, an unclassified felony.

Count one, the aggravated murder charge, claims “on or about Aug. 4 at Scioto County, Ohio, Nathan L. Stiltner, unlawfully, did purposely, and with prior calculation design, cause the death of Douglas A. Thackston.”

Count two charges Stiltner with murder, again an unclassified felony. The count reads “Stiltner, unlawfully, did cause the death of Douglas A. Thackston, as a proximate result of the offender committing or attempting to commit an offense of violence that is a felony of the first or second degree, to wit: felonious assault.”

Count three against Stiltner is the charge of felonious assault, a felony of the second degree. Count two reads in part “Stiltner, unlawfully, did knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to Douglas A. Thackston by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous ordinance, to wit: a handgun.”

All three counts carry with them one firearm specification, or special circumstance, each. The specifications essentially claim Stiltner used a firearm to facilitate the offense in question.

The fourth count charges Stiltner with having weapons while under disability, a third-degree felony. Ohio law allows for several definitions of “disability,” although in this case the count specifically mentions the suspect “did knowingly acquire, have, carry, or use a firearm or dangerous ordinance and the person is drug dependent, in danger of drug dependence, or a chronic alcoholic.”

Stiltner was arraigned Aug.24 and according to court records released on bond. He is scheduled for a two-day jury trial. He was assigned a public defender by the court. Online court records list one previous charge against Stiltner, a count of failure to comply, logged in 2008. It was ultimately dismissed without prejudice against the suspect.


By Tom Corrigan

[email protected]