Grisly tale of deception: In Justin Barnard murder

Grisly tale of deception: In Justin Barnard murder

Based on the investigation and statements from dozens of people and the killers themselves, Prosecutor Amanda K. Spies and Assistant Prosecutor Robert C. Urban Jr. on Wednesday ?in the wake of Tuesday’s sentencing of the fourth and final defendant, Amanda Sickels Bowditch ?related the horrific story investigators have pieced together. Justin Stephan, Chad Bowditch and Amanda Bowditch, all 19, have been sentenced to life in prison without parole eligibility. Diane Dinkelmann, 42, is serving a sentence of 21 years to life after having taken a plea bargain offered by prosecutors. Spies declined to elaborate on the details of the plea negotiations in the case.

Urban began the story with the Sept. 27 discovery of Barnard’s bloated, decomposing body, which was snagged on a tree limb in the Tuscarawas River just off Rt. 416 south of New Philadelphia. The body ?wrapped in a sheet and bound by blue, weighted rope ?exhibited evidence of his tortured last moments. Upon learning of the grisly discovery, Patricia Barnard Stoller of New Philadelphia contacted sheriff’s deputies, who were investigating because the body was found outside the city limits. She hadn’t seen her son for several days, and she had become concerned. ‘He was an adult and came and went as he pleased,?Urban said. ‘It was not unusual for him to be gone for a few days at a time.?P> After Stoller identified the body as that of her 18-year-old son, the investigation began in earnest. ‘Once we knew who it was, we secured information from Justin’s cell phone ?friends, acquaintances, anyone in the memory of the cell phone and started contacting these people,?Urban said. Conversations with friends yielded a time frame as to when he last had been seen. Spies said Barnard went to Tuscora Park in New Philadelphia with friends on Sunday, Sept. 18. He stayed overnight at a brown house near Dinkelmann’s residence in the 300 block of 2nd St. NW, New Philadelphia. Chad and Amanda Bowditch were being evicted from the house and were in the process of moving their things to Dinkelmann’s house where Stephan already lived. Spies said Dinkelmann took the Bowditches and Stephan to work at the Trail of Terror, a Halloween attraction at Bolivar, on Monday, Sept. 19, and picked them up from work in the early evening hours. Barnard had gone to the Tuscarawas County Fair at Dover with friends. ‘They went shopping to get a bunch of alcohol and snacks,?Spies said. ‘Then they went back to D’s (Dinkelmann’s) house and that’s when they started to plot the murder. D is easily upset. Chad makes suggestions to her that Justin Barnard had been running his mouth about D around the neighborhood and that Justin needs to be done away with. They all went out looking for Justin Barnard, but they couldn’t find him because he went to the fair.?P> Barnard and a friend got back to the brown house around midnight, she said. Chad Bowditch and Stephan showed up, asking Barnard to go with them under the pretense of having a birthday party for Dinkelmann. Barnard followed them to Dinkelmann’s house and was given a beer. Stephan admitted to having taken a hit of LSD, Spies said, and marijuana was being smoked. ‘They all had knives, and D was waiting in the basement,?Spies said. ‘They said they were going to the basement to chug a beer. They got him into a corner of the basement and said ‘let’s chug.?P> ‘He put the bottle to his mouth, and D stabbed him so forcefully her knife went in to the hilt. At that point everyone else got in on the stabbing.?P> Spies said there were no defensive wounds on Barnard and that he kept asking them why they were hurting him. She said he was curled up on the floor in a fetal position as the stabbing continued. He kept asking them why they were doing that to him. In an effort to silence Barnard, Stephan slit his throat. ‘Chad Bowditch lit a cigarette and stood and watched him bleed to death,?Spies said. ‘Justin Stephan then took two bricks, and it took three blows to the head before he was dead.?P> Spies said Chad Bowditch and Stephan wrapped the body in a sheet and secured it with weighted fishing rope from Dinkelmann’s basement. They hosed Barnard’s blood down the basement drain before they loaded his body into the back of Dinkelmann’s pickup truck. Dinkelmann’s 14-year-old son, who now is in the custody of the Department of Job and Family Services, was upstairs in the house during the murder and subsequent activities, according to Spies. Dinkelmann, accompanied by Stephan, drove to the Mill Ave. SE bridge near New Towne Mall shortly before 3 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20. She backed up to the railing, and Stephan pulled the body out of the truck and over the railing. As they drove on Mill Ave. toward S. Broadway, a New Philadelphia police officer responding to an alarm drop at the nearby Ohio Power facility pulled up beside them. Dinkelmann had forgotten to turn her lights on, and the officer reminded her to do so. Later that day, the four continued to clean up and began to paint Dinkelmann’s basement to hide the evidence of their crime. They also threw the remainder of the rope and the knives and bricks used to kill Barnard in various locations around DInkelmann’s neighborhood and in Shel-Mar mobile home park where Amanda Bowditch grew up. Coroners determined Barnard died from a massive skull fracture and also suffered 16 or 17 stab wounds to his head, neck, trunk and extremities. Six of the stab wounds were in the front of his neck and two penetrated his voice box. Spies said Chad Bowditch and Stephan had a chilling conversation the day after the murder. ‘Justin Stephan said Chad Bowditch was so hyped up about the kill he asked, ‘who are we going to kill today?’ she said. Stephan said he wasn’t killing anyone else. ‘A couple of days after the murder, Chad Bowditch goes to Patricia Barnard Stoller’s house to see where Justin was,?she said. ‘Life continues for them. They go to the fair, they do whatever they do.?P> The friend who accompanied Barnard to the fair and returned to the brown house with him shortly before he was killed later would tell authorities that Chad Bowditch said later that Barnard had left in the middle of the night to go to California to see his father. Chad Bowditch had told the others that if they could avoid detection for seven days, they’d never be caught. What he failed to realize, Spies said, is that a decomposing body produces gas and that gas will bring a body to the surface of the water.
One person interviewed by sheriff deputies said she was at the fair with Stephan on Thursday, Sept. 22, and he told her he’d killed a man and would do it again. Spies said she believes Stephan gave the most accurate and truthful rendition of events. He said the whole thing ‘just snowballed.?P> ‘Justin Stephan’s explanation to us was that the more they drank, the more stupid they got,?she said. ‘Justin Stephan was very consistent in the details he gave us.?P> Urban said investigators honed in on the four early in the case based on their statements and the statements of others, but it wasn’t known exactly to what extent each person was involved. They each gave multiple statements that usually implicated the others and at times were very inconsistent. Both Dinkelmann and Stephan began talking to prosecutors after they had entered their guilty pleas, and the picture became clearer. Spies said the group was practicing Wicca and at one point dabbled in Satanism. ‘But I don’t think that had anything to do with it,?she said. ‘Amanda Bowditch had claimed Justin Barnard raped her at one point. Chad Bowditch didn’t even think that was truthful. There didn’t appear to be any credibility to that.?P> Urban said Amanda Bowditch and Barnard enjoyed a very close relationship and had been friends for several years. That may have been too much for Chad Bowditch to handle, he added. ‘Chad may have had jealousy issues, concern that his new wife had a very close relationship with Justin Barnard,?he said. Why Dinkelmann got involved can be traced to seemingly false statements made to her by Chad Bowditch, Spies said. ‘D is very easily fired up, especially when she’s been drinking,?Spies said. ‘She was quite a neighborly woman and talked to her neighbors a lot. She became irritated that a young person was destroying her relationship with her neighbors and decided it was time for him to go.?P> Urban said Stephan and Amanda Bowditch were followers. Stephan apparently believed Barnard had hurt Amanda Bowditch. ‘Chad Bowditch was the match that started this fire,?he said. ‘There is no rational reason, if there ever is such a thing. All four were asked by the family point blank why and not one provided an answer or an explanation.?P> ‘I think it was that these people wanted to have the experience of what it felt like to murder someone,?Spies added. ‘I think it was curiosity of if they could get away with it.?P> They must have felt they would. A corrections officer who transported the four to court on Oct. 6 reported how ‘all four inmates were talking to one another, laughing and joking around.?The officer stated they discussed their fingerprints on the knives and the painting of the basement to hide their tracks. During a Sept. 30 interview, Amanda Bowditch stated she had planned to attempt to commit suicide and then take the blame for the whole event. She said she had slit her wrists on Sept. 28 and was hospitalized. In one of her statements, Dinkelmann said Amanda Bowditch was ‘mental?and could get out of it. Both Spies and Urban praised the investigative work of the sheriff’s office and detectives Orvis Campbell, Scott Ballentine and Cathy Bickford. They also appreciated the courtesy and patience of the Barnard family, they said. Spies said she cannot recall another county homicide at the hands of four people and called the entire case ‘unprecedented.?The cases against the four defendants were resolved without trials within exactly nine months of the murder. ‘I don’t think we could have gotten a better outcome,?Spies said. ‘For Dinkelmann, this is a life sentence for her. I don’t anticipate she will ever walk out of Marysville.?P> It’s not the first time Dinkelmann has been incarcerated. Then known as Diane Howland, she went to prison in the 1980s for robbing a disabled man in a wheelchair in Suffolk County, N.Y. According to investigator’s records, she also attacked a family member with a chainsaw, but no charges were filed.

Justin Barnard Obituary

Justin Derik Barnard

Born in Canton, Ohio on May 22, 1987

Departed on Sep. 27, 2005 and resided in New Philadelphia, OH.

Visitation: Monday, Oct. 3, 2005 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm & 6:00 pm
– 8:00 pm

Memorial Service: Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2005 5:30 pm

Reception: Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2005 6:30 pm

Please click on the links above for locations, times, maps, and directions.

Justin Derik Barnard, age 18, of New Philadelphia, was found dead in the Tuscarawas River, Tuesday September 27, 2005, the result of a brutal and horrific murder.Born at Canton, Ohio, May 22, 1987, Justin was a son of Patricia Barnard-Stoller of New Philadelphia, and Michael Barnard of Felton, California.

Justin grew up in the area having attended primary, middle, and high school within the New Philadelphia School district for most of his academic career. He spent several years residing with his father in California.

His brief time here was characterized by a passion for helping his friends, spoiling his pets, telling outrageous stories, and using Legos, model cars, model aircraft to create for others what only his vivid imagination would fully reveal. Like many young men Justin was drawn to NASCAR, where, his brother is sure, “Justin’s ability to take apart and put things back together” would make him a great candidate for a mechanic in just about any pit crew.

Around town, Justin was known to visit the Park Place Teen Center. He enjoyed bike riding, skateboarding, and was into playing video games and watching television – he was especially fond of The Daily Show.

Most of all, Justin will be remembered as a caregiver to his friends – and his family. He leaves behind many friends who will remember Justin for his attentive ear, and for his ability to listen, he was thought of as a teenage therapist.

In addition to his parents, Justin was loved and will be missed by his brother; Rich Kreider of New Philadelphia, a sister; Danica Hoppe of Canton, another brother; Samuel Barnard of Felton, California, a step-brother; Nick Villalobos, also of Felton.

Survivors also include his maternal grandmother; Olivine Ward of Washington state, paternal grandmother; Levanche Barnard of Bellflower, California, a special father Richard Hoppe of Stanton, California, a special grandmother; Helen Hoppe of Fox Lake, Illinois, two maternal aunts; Johanne (Roger) Buck of Big Fork, Minnesota, and Diane Pelaske of Columbus, Georgia, a maternal uncle, Ken Howell of Lancaster, California, two paternal aunts; Jan (Ed) Tibbals, of Ventura, California, and Lori VanHofwegen of Bellflower, California, a paternal uncle; Charlie J. L. (Tamara) Barnard Jr., also of Bellflower, California, many cousins and an abundance of friends from California to the Tuscarawas Valley.

Justin was preceded in death by his two grandfathers; William Howell, and Charlie J. L. Barnard Sr.

Justin’s family will receive friends Monday afternoon from 2-4 and 6-8 PM in the Linn-Hert-Geib Funeral Home & Crematory. Pastor Brian Flood will officiate a service celebrating Justin’s life Tuesday evening at 5:30 in the funeral home’s chapel. Following the Memorial Service, a reception will be held at the Dover Moose Lodge, 707 N. Tuscarawas Ave., Dover, for family and friends. Cremation will follow through the care of Geib’s Tuscarawas Valley Cremation Service.

Memorial contributions to offset expenses to the family, may be made to the Justin D. Barnard Memorial Fund, in care of Dover-Phila Federal Credit Union, 119 Fillmore Avenue, Dover, Ohio, 44622.

Justin Derik Barnard

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Thursday, September 28, 2006


EXACTLY ONE YEAR AGO TO THIS DAY, I WAS AT THE TUSCARAWAS COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT……IDENTIFYING MY MUTILATED DEAD 18 YEAR OLD SON….EXACTLY ONE YEAR AGO TODAY, MY LIFE HAD BECOME NOTHING SHORT OF LIVING HELL.Exactly one year ago, to this very day, I had to inform a father that his son had been brutally murdered, and his body disposed of like garbage into a river.


Exactly one year ago to this day, I cried the hottest tears I have ever before cried in my life. I cursed GOD.  I screamed.  I begged that everything was a lie.

Exactly one year ago today, I told Orvis Campbell who I thought had done, or been a part of this unspeakable, incomprehensible crime…and gave him exactly 48 hours to reel them in…..yes people, so it was done… I had forseen, but I did not forsee the additional two persons (Dinkelmann and Stephan).


I am watching all of the “kids” in the neighborhood…I have already witnessed and turned in a peeping-tom, and I’ll be damned if any child is murdered if I can help it.

Posted 9/28/2006 7:43 PM – 15 Views – 6 eProps – 3 comments

Memorial Tribute/Walk… Update

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Thank you, everyone who showed up.  What a wonderful turnout…just about 130 people.Unfortunately, paid members of the community never showed up, ie., Mayor, Prosecutors, Detective, Sheriffs, NPPD,…you know, the people who made money from earnings regarding Justin’s murder.(They said they would be ther, amazing….cowards)

The people who mattered were there, and I thank you all.  I still have yet to make it to the bridge.  My heart just can’t take it right now. I am still having a difficult time coping with everything.

I know some of you are still in such horrible pain from the murder, remember, Justin touched all of your hearts in only the way he could, and the effects are astounding.

Posted 9/26/2006 4:29 PM – 9 Views – 2 eProps – 1 Comment

Justin Barnard…Justin Barnard

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006






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Life for Amanda Bowditch Woman sentenced for her part in the

Life for Amanda Bowditch Woman sentenced for her part in the

Life for Amanda Bowditch

Woman sentenced for her part in the murder of Justin Barnard

Nineteen-year-old Amanda N. Sickels Bowditch ?the fourth and final person convicted in the murder of Justin Barnard ?has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Edward O’Farrell handed down the sentence late Tuesday afternoon after hearing two hours of emotional family speeches and expert psychological testimony and one hour of deliberation in the New Philadelphia court.

‘As I said in the cases of the two young men, everything in me screams not to impose the maximum punishment because you are young and because others are responsible,?he said. ‘But what other punishment would be deserved if not the maximum? There is no other punishment except the maximum to be imposed.?P> The Barnard family obviously was pleased with the sentence. A candlelight vigil was planned for Tuesday night at both the home where Barnard was murdered 342 2nd St. NW, New Philadelphia and the bridge near New Towne Mall where his body was dumped into the Tuscarawas River last September.

Before the sentence was announced, however, various family members made their final, gut-wrenching statements to the court. With tears streaming down her face, Amanda Bowditch watched and listened to each person as he or she spoke.

Barnard’s mother, Patricia Barnard Stoller of New Philadelphia, said when investigators asked her who could have done this to her son, she offered up the names of Amanda Sickels Bowditch and her husband Chad Bowditch. She told O’Farrell how Amanda was an active participant in the stabbing of her son and helped clean up and cover up the crime.

She then turned her attention to the girl her son loved. She asked the teenager if she still can hear Barnard begging for his life. Stoller said Amanda wrote in her diary ‘that you just finished your first kill. How proud your family must be of you.?P> Stoller said Amanda professed to have followed Wicca and then changed to Satanism.

‘Let the devil have you, that’s about all you’re good for,’ Stoller continued. ‘You know, Amanda, Justin loved you more than you will ever be able to understand. He was always concerned for you. He was always there for you. He was worried sick for you. And this is how you treat such a beautiful, precious gift you bludgeon it to death.’

Stoller said she hoped Amanda would succeed some day in taking her own life as she has tried to do in the past. Stoller told Amanda that having a hard life is no reason to kill someone. She then showed her an enlargement of a snapshot of Justin and Amanda in 2002.

Barnard’s father, Michael Barnard of California, recalled his son’s relationship with Amanda. He then explained how Amanda introduced his son to the other three killers ?Chad Bowditch, Justin Stephan and Diane Dinkelmann.

‘His love for the simple things in life compelled him to take on lost causes, like this one, and consider her a friend,’ he said sadly. ‘This is how you respond to the loving, kind friendship my son gave to you. The reality of my son’s torturous death is now my reality, forced upon me by your mother’s neglect and your grandmother’s inability to get you the help you needed to keep you from acting out your hatred on my son.’

Barnard’s aunt, Lori VanHofwegen of California, called Amanda and her three compatriots ‘less than human psychopaths.’  She criticized the Sickels family for blaming everyone else for Amanda’s predicament.

‘She is a menace to the human race,’ VanHofwegen said. ‘He gave this cold-blooded murder a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, for 12 years.
‘Look into my blue eyes, can you see Justin’s pain?’ she asked Amanda. ‘Can you hear him saying ‘why are you doing this? I never did anything to hurt you. Stop them. Help me.’ You have no heart, no soul, no conscience. You are a coward.’

After the Barnard family was finished speaking, defense attorney Kenneth Welch began his presentation of evidence in Amanda Bowditch’s defense. He was quick to point out that he did not intend to excuse his client’s conduct, but he wanted O’Farrell to have a complete picture of how Amanda Bowditch came to appear before him.

Lisa Moore, Amanda’s great-aunt, explained how Amanda never was taken care of properly and how she often lived in homes with no heat, no food, no running water or electricity. She described how Amanda was verbally, physically and sexually abused as a small child and that her mother, Debra Mathias, did nothing to stop it.

Moore said Amanda Bowditch was sexually abused again at age 11. About that time she also began being hospitalized for mental problems. She was taken away from Debra and placed with Debra’s mother, Linda Sickels.

‘That was the equivalent of tossing her out of the frying pan and into the fire,’ Moore said, who continued to criticize the lack of parenting skills by nearly everyone who had any contact with her great-niece.

Moore said she and other family members were unsuccessful in getting Amanda out of the situation. She was wracked with sobs as she described her regret in being unable to get custody of Amanda ‘to rescue her from her hellish life.’

Dr. Daniel Davis, a forensic psychologist from Columbus who completed an extensive competency and sanity evaluation of Amanda, explained his findings. He said the young woman’s primary diagnosis is one of borderline personality disorder, one of the most severe personality disorders. He said the condition often manifests itself in people who have suffered severe abuse or neglect.

He said she also attempted to malinger to fake mental illness to avoid the consequences of her actions.

‘Amanda appears to be the kind of person who can be easily manipulated,’ he observed. ‘She has free will and choice, but she can be wound up and pointed in a direction. She has a need to please. Her development is at a very primitive level. Her psychological problems are staggering.’

Welch said she has attempted suicide numerous times. He said she told a counselor when she was 11 that she wanted to kill herself but she didn’t know how.
‘The circumstances of this case are beyond tragic,’ Welch said. ‘The circumstances of Amanda’s life are beyond tragic. She was so broken there was no putting her back together. You can’t repair the damage done to her over all these years.’

Amanda’s mother, Debra Mathias, spoke tearfully as she faced possibly never seeing her daughter outside prison walls. She said she did all she could for her daughter, but she could not afford to keep her in a mental health facility where she belonged.

‘I can feel your pain and suffering,’ she said haltingly. ‘I am very sorry. They lost a son, I’m losing my daughter. She does have a heart. Justin was a kind, loving person. She loved him as well.’

‘It’s a nightmare we can’t wake up from either. We are suffering as well. She’s my little girl. I love her as any mother would love her child. I never turned my back on her, and I will never turn my back on her.’

Finally Amanda Bowditch was given the opportunity to speak.

‘I can’t give your son back to you,’ she said. ‘I am very sorry for what I’ve done. I know there are times he cared for me and loved me. I don’t know why we did what we did.’

In handing down his sentence, O’Farrell addressed Amanda’s situation.

‘You are the one who participated in the brutal death of Justin Barnard,’ he said. ‘But there are co-conspirators to this crime in this courtroom and outside of this courtroom. The evidence is overwhelming and needs to be recognized. ‘You have been a victim as well. You have not been given what every child deserves. This is not the way we as parents should treat our children.’

Chad Bowditch and Stephan, both 19, received sentences of life in prison without parole last month for their parts in Barnard’s death. Dinkelmann is serving 21 years to life in the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville. Her first parole hearing will be held in August 2026.

According to investigators, the four defendants, who lived at Dinkelmann’s 2nd St. house, killed Barnard in the basement Sept. 20. His body was found Sept. 27 in the Tuscarawas River at New Philadelphia.

Another Plea Comes In Stabbing Death of Local Teen

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Four people have been accused in the stabbing death of Tuscarawas County teen Justin Barnard, but now the case is half over after another defendant pleads.Thursday, Justin Stephan pleaded no contest to six counts including aggravated murder, two counts of murder, two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of gross abuse of a corpse.

Diane Dinkelman has already pleaded guilty in the case.

Barnard’s body was found floating in the Tuscarawas County River in September 2005. A motive for the killing has not been released.

Stephan’s sentencing won’t come until after Chad Bowditch goes to trial in mid-March.

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