Butler Co. man arrested in Meigs sentenced for murder

By Sarah Hawley - shawley@aimmediamidwest.com

MIDDLETOWN — A Butler County man arrested in Meigs County last year following the murder of his wife was sentenced this week in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Bobby Jo Nitz, 45, pleaded guilty to a single count of murder during a plea hearing on Jan. 9.

The charge carried a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life in prison, to which Nitz was sentenced on Tuesday.

By pleading guilty to murder, the remaining charges of the indictment, two counts of felonious assault and a second count of murder, were dismissed.

According to the Journal-News, the victim Crista Nitz was shot in the head while her young daughter was at the residence.

Crista Nitz’ sister addressed the court during sentencing, with her statements detailed in the Journal-News article.

“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.

According to previous Sentinel reports, on the morning of May 1, 2017, Nitz was arrested following a brief pursuit near Alligator Jack’s off Route 7.

A news release from the Middletown Division of Police at the time of the incident stated that at 9:13 p.m. on Sunday evening (April 30) the office received a call from an 11-year-old girl that her mother was dead.

Officers responded to the residence at 1203 Short Street in Middletown where they found Crista V. Nitz, 41, dead on the floor of the bathroom.

“We found that Crista had been arguing with her husband Bobby Jo Nitz, age 45, and it became violent. The little girl heard a loud sound and Bobby fled the area on his motorcycle. Bobby told a friend that he had just killed his wife, so we sent out a message to other police agencies that we were looking for him,” the release states.

Bobby Nitz was spotted by Middleport Police Department Officers shortly before midnight on April 30 and a pursuit began on Route 7. Deputies came in contact with the suspect near Alligator Jack’s on Route 7, with the suspect then turning onto the exit ramp toward Pomeroy.

At that point, Nitz came to a stop, was ordered to put his hands in the air and was then placed on the ground and handcuffed by Deputy Chris Jones.

Wood stated that Nitz has family in the area and is from this area. The Meigs County Sheriff’s Office was advised around 11 p.m. Sunday evening that Nitz may be heading toward Meigs County.

The girl was physically unharmed and is now with her father.


By Sarah Hawley