Clermont County manslaughter case set for trial


A Batavia man accused of being involved in a Clermont County killing appeared in Highland County Common Pleas Court on Monday for a final hearing before a jury trial later this month.

Steve A. Davis, 40, is charged with two other men for allegedly killing a man in Clermont County, then bringing his body to Highland County and disposing of it in a field near New Market.

On Monday, attorneys discussed business items during a brief hearing, including a possible plea bargain for Davis.

Highland County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jim Roeder said after the hearing that Davis has been presented with a plea offer, and if he chooses to accept it, a plea hearing will be scheduled at a later date.

Roeder said it’s likely the case will go to trial.

Davis is represented by local attorney Bill Armintrout.

The trial was rescheduled from earlier this month due to the large amount of evidence in the case.

As previously reported, Davis, Stoney James Behler, 37, and John Daniel Disney, 39, both of Cincinnati, were each indicted in May on one count of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, one count of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and one count of abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony.

Behler was also indicted on one count of having weapons under disability, a third-degree felony.

According to a bill of particulars filed in the case, Behler shot 24-year-old Dakota Spurlock in the chest earlier this year while Behler, Disney and Davis were attempting to rob him.

The bill says Behler, Disney and Davis had arranged to buy heroin and “ice,” a type of methamphetamine, from Spurlock, but when Spurlock got in a borrowed Ford Explorer with them, Behler pulled a gun on Spurlock and said they intended to take his drugs and money.

According to the bill, Davis then punched Spurlock, and Behler shot Spurlock in the chest.

The three men then drove to Davidson Road near New Market and allegedly dumped the body in a ditch at the entrance to a field, officials said.

“Behler took Spurlock’s shoes and wallet and other personal items and was wearing Spurlock’s shoes at a later date,” the bill said, adding that he allegedly bragged to someone else about shooting Spurlock.

Behler allegedly threw the gun off a bridge into the Ohio River, according to the bill, and later showed detectives with the Highland County Sheriff’s Office where he threw it.

The bill said Davis allegedly continued to message Spurlock on Facebook in order to mislead law enforcement.

One witness said when Spurlock left a residence to meet with Behler, Disney and Davis, he had heroin, ice and $3,000 to $5,000 in cash with him.

As previously reported, a farmer found Spurlock’s body with a gunshot wound to the chest. Blood samples collected from Spurlock matched blood found in the Explorer, according to the bill.

Davis remains incarcerated in the Highland County jail.

Behler is serving a prison sentence for a separate crime. He is expected to be released in December.

Disney was initially incarcerated at the Clermont County Jail, but is no longer listed on the inmate roster.

The cases against Behler and Disney are still pending.

As previously reported, online court records in Clermont, Hamilton and Montgomery counties show Spurlock had a criminal record, including drug crimes and firearm violations. A Facebook page appearing to belong to Spurlock showed him and others in multiple photos holding guns and wads of cash.

Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.

Steve Davis, pictured in red, is escorted from the Highland County Common Pleas Courtroom by two corrections officers. Davis, pictured in red, is escorted from the Highland County Common Pleas Courtroom by two corrections officers. David Wright | The Times-Gazette
Davis will go before jury later this month

By David Wright

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