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Man to be sentenced in murder-for-hire plot to kill best friend

Keyanta Gardner guilty plea
Posted at 12:13 PM, Nov 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-29 12:15:59-05

NEW RICHMOND, Ohio — Keyanta Gardner, who pled guilty to aggravated murder and conspiracy to commit murder in October, will be sentenced Wednesday morning.

He will face Judge Richard Ferenc for sentencing in a murder-for-hire plot that led to the death of 23-year-old Bobby Farrell. Farrell went missing on July 6 and was found dead on July 14, abandoned on a tree-lined country road.

The first missing-persons notice posted about Farrell described him as having left home to “drive around with a friend” on the night of July 5.

“Not long after, Bobby received a text from an unknown individual and he asked to be dropped off at Dee’s Dairy Bar,” the notice read, adding later: “He has missed a promotion at work and the birth of his niece, which is not typical behavior for Bobby.”

Prosecutors said Gardner paid another man to kill Farrell, abandoned the body and cleaned out his car to conceal evidence of the crime. Gardner then consoled Farrell's family during the search that followed, assistant prosecutor Katie Terpstra said in July.

Prosecutors said the act continued until the discovery of Farrell's body on July 11 and Gardner's arrest three days later. Christian Beasley, the man accused of taking money to shoot Farrell, was arrested on July 22.

“The defendant (Gardner) plotted with the co-defendant (Beasley) to murder one of his best friends in cold blood," Terpstra said in court Friday. "To that end, he withdrew money to pay the co-defendant to murder the victim.”

The pair then left Ferrell's body on SR 222 in Monroe Township, prosecuting attorney Mark Tekulve said.

Gardner initially pleaded not guilty, before changing his plea to guilty in October.