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Prosecutor asks criminal case against local jeweler John Stafford to be dismissed

WHIO Dayton logo WHIO Dayton 10/22/2021 WHIO Staff
Police arrest John Stafford at his Sugarcreek Twp. home © Provided by WHIO Dayton Police arrest John Stafford at his Sugarcreek Twp. home

The special prosecutor assigned to the aggravated menacing case against local jeweler John Stafford has asked the judge to dismiss the case, citing a lack of evidence.

“The State believes at this time that there is insufficient evidence to proceed,” said Joseph Gibson, Special Xenia City Prosecutor.

Stafford, 63, was arrested at his home on Indian Wells Trail in May after he was accused of pulling a gun out and pointing it at golfers playing at Sugar Valley Country Club.

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Stafford’s attorney, Jeremy Tomb, said he plans to make a comment on the case once it is no longer pending, which could happen as soon as Nov. 1.

Video obtained by News Center 7 through a public records request showed a portion of an argument that happened on the fairway of the golf club on Mead Road. It does not actually show Stafford pulling out a gun.

“This is my yard (expletive),” Stafford told a group of golfers in the cell phone video.

“You pulled a gun. You pulled a gun,” one of the golfers said to Stafford.

“Yeah because he came at me. You’re in my yard. Once you stepped in my yard you had a problem,” Stafford is heard saying in the video.

Police body camera video shows accounts from several people, on both sides, who are involved in the investigation.

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“Once he gets on my property and I feel threatened, that he’s got the golf club in his hand, he’s probably going to hit me, or hit the dog, I pulled out my weapon and said you guys get off my property, you’re not supposed to have golf carts on here,” Stafford told two Sugarcreek Twp. officers. “Now I didn’t say I was going to shoot anybody, I didn’t say I was going to do anything.”

A Sugarcreek Twp. police report showed police seized a gun during their investigation.

Stafford told police the golfers were being loud and were driving a golf cart on his land, against club rules.

Greene County records News Center 7 obtained showed the golf course does cut across a section of Stafford’s land, but golfers are allowed to play there.

An easement signed in July 1991 between Greene Tree Development Inc. and Sugar Valley Country Club involves a portion of Stafford’s property. The easement for the plot of land was in place prior to a home being built on it and transferred to future owners, records show.

The easement said Sugar Valley could use a portion of the property exclusively for part of its’ golf course, but that the property owner could use it for a subsurface sanitary disposal area.

“The above described grant of Easement and Right of Way from Sugar Valley to Greene Tree shall be for future subsurface sanitary disposal area purposes only and Sugar Valley retains the right to use said premises for any purposes not inconsistent with the granting of a subsurface sanitary disposal area easement,” the easement agreement read.

Stafford told police he felt threatened during the incident.

“Per Ohio law – I have a right to stand there and I don’t have to give up my position on my property,” Stafford said. “He came at me with a golf club. And he’s telling me he’s gonna kick my (expletive). He knows who I am...he’s coming after me. So, what would you do…he’s within six feet of me,” Stafford said.

The golfers told police what they said happened that prompted the calls for police to respond.

“He kept antagonizing us antagonizing us and bringing his dog – he goes I’ll just shoot everybody and like we’re standing there – you know – confrontation and he pulls a gun – it’s him there me here him there and he goes like this right here, two foot from our face, he goes, I’ll shoot all of you…just like that I said I’m calling the cops,” one of the golfers said.

The judge assigned to the case will have to make a decision on the prosecutor’s request to have the case dismissed.

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