Homebuilder Robert Fritzsch found not guilty in neighbor-beating case

CINCINNATI - A Hamilton County judge found a homebuilder not guilty of hiring men to beat a neighbor in a dispute over their view overlooking the Ohio River.

On Wednesday, Judge Norbert Nadel found Robert Fritzsch of Mount Lookout not guilty of felonious assault, retaliation and complicity after he was accused of hiring two men to assault his neighbor, Tom Nies of Columbia Tusculum. Fritzsch allegedly hired 31-year-old Lee Robinson and 35-year-old James Callaway to beat up Nies on Aug. 9, 2011, after Nies won a lawsuit against Fritzsch.

Upon investigation, it was found Fritsch did not hire Robinson and Callaway, nor did the pair assault Nies. Officials said Robinson and Callaway hired another individual at the Drop Inn Center to do the beating. The suspect who allegedly beat Nies has never been identified.

"I knew the truth was going to come out and I'm just glad it did," Fritzsch said. "Obviously they were con men and this was a set up and I'm just relieved the truth came out."

Nadel found Fritzsch not guilty after the prosecution's main witnesses were Robinson and Callaway, who did not beat Nies.

The allegations surfaced after Fritzsch built a house next door to Nies in the 3000 block of Ononta Avenue in Columbia Tusculum. Both homes overlooked the Ohio River, but Nies' view was obstructed when Fritzsch built two back decks. 

Nies sued Fritzsch, and won the case after a judge ruled that Fritzsch violated an easement placed on his property. Fritzsch then had to tear down the decks and pay Nies $166,000.

Nies sustained a concussion in the beating as well as other injuries. The attack reportedly happened in front of Nies' child.

"I hope that the people of Cincinnati realize I now did have nothing to do with this and I want to go back to work and back to my life," Fritzsch said.

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