Man Accused In Fatal Stabbing Wants Case Dismissed

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A New Philadelphia resident accused of killing a man and dumping the body into a river has asked for his case to be dismissed.

Chad Bowditch’s attorney petitioned the court to dismiss the case because the state did not preserve the victim’s body, but those with the defense said the judge overruled the motion Monday afternoon.

Justin Barnard was stabbed to death last year and his body was found in the Tuscarawas River. His body was cremated.

Bowditch and three other New Philadelphia residents are charged with the killing.

According to the Motion to Dismiss, an autopsy showed Barnard may have had lethal levels of drugs, rubbing alcohol and regular alcohol in his system at the time of death. However, that report was completed after Barnard’s family had already cremated his body.

Defense counsel contends the coroner released Barnard’s body to relatives for cremation shortly after the autopsy, but before the results were in.

The death certificate did list that the toxicology results as a secondary cause of death.  Defense counsel says the release and destruction of the evidence makes it impossible to pursue this angle of the case.

Bowditch’s attorney also said the release of the body before completing the proper investigation violated the Ohio Revised Code. He also alleged prosecutorial misconduct, claiming the state interviewed the minor son of a codefendant without his lawyer present.

The trial for another man accused in the murder, Justin Stephan, is set for Thursday.

Stay with NEWS9 for continuing coverage.

-Renee Cardelli & Jill Del Greco, NEWS9