BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio -- A Middletown man was sent to prison Tuesday for the shooting death of his wife in April.
Bobby Jo Nitz, 45, pleaded guilty in January in Butler County Common Pleas Court to murder, avoiding a trial. In exchange for the plea, a felonious assault charge was merged and a three year gun specification was dropped.
Nitz killed his wife Crista in the bathroom of their Short Avenue residence. She was shot in the head. Crista Nitz was discovered by her 11-year-old daughter.
Butler County Common Pleas Judge Charles Pater gave Nitz a mandatory sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years, according to WCPO media partner the Journal-News.
Pater noted before handing down the sentence that he had no discretion by law in choice of sentence.
Nitz had nothing to say before sentencing and looked straight ahead as his dead wife’s sister, Faith Wells, tearfully told the judge the impact his actions had on the family, including Crista’s two young children.
“The monster he took a vow to protect her from was in fact himself,” Wells said. “If he couldn’t have her no one would. How can you take a mother in front of her 11-year-old baby girl? The innocence of a beautiful girl is gone forever.”
Wells called her young niece a hero, noting after Nitz shot Crista he threw the phone on the roof and fled, leaving the girl to figure out how to get her mother help.
“That little girl is very brave,” Wells said.
Wells said Nitz is a monster who hunted her sister like a caged animal in the their home’s bathroom.
“Crista was a person with a lot of character and intelligence … She was trying to love the monster out of him,” Wells said.
After the sentencing, Wells spoke again for the large number of Crista’s family in attendance.
“We are satisfied with the life sentence and we will be back ... to make sure he doesn’t get parole,” she said.
After the shooting, Nitz left on his motorcycle and rode toward Meigs County, about three hours from Middletown. He was arrested on April 30. Also as a result of the plea, Nitz will not face any possible charges in Meigs County.
While Nitz was on the run after the shooting, one of his friends told Middletown police he received a text that read: “I just killed my wife talk to you later.” The friend thought the text was a joke, then he received the next text, “I kill her sorry,” according to the search warrant.
Nitz killed his wife of seven months after he found “phone numbers” on her cell phone, according to search warrants obtained by the Journal-News. Middletown police later located the cell phone on the roof of the home, where Nitz told police he threw it during the argument.