Murder trial is rescheduled

By Tom Corrigan -

Nathan Stiltner

Nathan Stiltner

Continued from Dec. 17 and originally set for a two-day jury trial, the murder trial of a homeless Portsmouth man is set to begin March 4 in front of Scioto County Court of Common Pleas Judge Howard Harcha.

Nathan Stiltner, 36, is charged in the August 2018 slaying of Portsmouth resident Douglas A. Thackston, who police say died from a single gunshot wound to his upper abdomen.

At the time the initial trial was delayed, Dayne Maple, a secretary to Judge Harcha, said during a pretrial hearing some evidentiary issues arose which led defense attorneys to seek a continuation of the case. Harcha granted that motion.

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

Police said Stiltner 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.

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 and 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 three 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.”

According to Maple, Stiltner was denied bail and as of December was sitting in a Scioto County Jail cell awaiting his next court date.

Nathan Stiltner Stiltner

By Tom Corrigan