Woman pleads guilty to her role in 2017 shooting death of ex-husband in Riverside

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A 35-year-old Centerville woman pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to interstate stalking that resulted in her ex-husband’s death.

U.S. Attorney David DeVillers said Friday Tawnney Caldwell accepted responsibility for her role in the August 2017 murder of Robert Caldwell. Parties involved in Tawnney Caldwell’s case have recommended a sentence of 20 to 35 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. 

DeVillers said according to her plea agreement, around 6 p.m. on August 15, 2017, Robert Caldwell and his three minor children left a counseling appointment in Riverside, Ohio. While crossing the parking lot, Robert Caldwell was shot multiple times by an assailant in front of his children and died at the scene. The assailant was later identified as co-defendant Sterling Roberts.

Tawnney Caldwell is the ex-wife of the murder victim and was the girlfriend of Sterling Roberts at the time of the incident.

She and the murder victim had an ongoing dispute regarding the custody of their children and Tawnney Caldwell had talked to Sterling Roberts on at least two occasions (while Roberts was incarcerated in Montgomery County) about killing Robert Caldwell.

Caldwell’s son, then 14-years-old, was missing for more than a year after the shooting death of his father. He was later found safe in Dayton.

DeVillers said Tawnney Caldwell collaborated with others, including Sterling Roberts, to plan, execute and cover-up the violent crime resulting in the death of Robert Caldwell.

Court documents show Roberts pretended to be a customer in need of stonework and messaged Robert Caldwell to lure him into meeting in Jamestown, Ohio in early August 2017. Roberts, armed with a gun, allegedly ambushed Robert Caldwell, who fled and called 911. Robert Caldwell eventually escaped that encounter and reported it to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Tawnney Caldwell’s plea, between the time of the attempted homicide and the eventual murder of Robert Caldwell, Roberts fled to a relative’s home in Tennessee. The U.S. Atorney’s office said Tawnney Caldwell went to Tennessee and brought Roberts back to Ohio, stopping in Kentucky to illegally purchase Roberts an AK-47 rifle.

According to Tawnney Caldwell’s plea, the two planned the details of the victim’s murder together at Tawnney Caldwell’s residence and were in contact via cell phone multiple times before and after the murder.

Sterling Roberts is scheduled for jury trial in U.S. District Court on Nov. 30.

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