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Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Suspect in beating death returning from N.Y.

St. Marys

By Shelley Grieshop
ST. MARYS - A local man will be returning to Auglaize County from New York to face charges related to the beating death of a St. Marys man in September.
Gordon W. Diggle, 30, of St. Marys, on Wednesday was ordered to return to Ohio during an extradition hearing in Rockland County Common Pleas Court in New York. He is charged locally with felonious assault and aggravated robbery for physically attacking Steven Casad, 64, of St. Marys, outside a bar in the city on Sept. 8.
Casad died four days after the beating. The Montgomery County Coroner's office ruled the death a homicide caused by blunt force trauma to the head.
An Auglaize County grand jury could hear the case soon, although prosecutor Ed Pierce refused to discuss the case or say when the next grand jury will meet.
Diggle - who is being held on a $1.5 million bond in New York following his arrest in Tarrytown on Sept. 13 - will be escorted back to Ohio by St. Marys Police officers who issued the warrant for his arrest in September.
"Obviously this is good news for us. It kicks a lot of things into motion," Police Chief Greg Foxhoven said.
The department has a lot of logistics to work out including transportation plans. It's likely two officers will fly to New York this weekend to pick up Diggle. For security reasons, the officers may rent a vehicle for the trip back to Auglaize County, Foxhoven added.
Foxhoven said he's relieved the suspect is finally returning.
"We'll rest a little easier, knowing he's in our own jail," he said.
It's been a long three months for the victims, he acknowledged.
"We want to get the process going so the victims and their families can finally get some closure," Foxhoven said.
Police say Casad was beaten and robbed in an alley outside Friendly Tavern in downtown St. Marys. Investigators believe Diggle fled the area soon after the incident and was on his way to Massachusetts - where he formerly lived - when he was arrested by New York police.
Diggle refused to waive his right to extradition so the Auglaize County prosecutor's office in October sent documents to former Gov. Ted Strickland's office requesting intervention. The governor's office approved Diggle's extradition and sent the necessary paperwork to New York Gov. David Paterson a week later to initiate the process, according to the governor's deputy communications director, Allison Kolodziej.
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