Trial delayed for 2 accused of shooting, killing Beavercreek dad in front of his children

DAYTON — The couple the FBI says were the key players in killing a Beavercreek dad in front of his three sons had their trial in U.S. District Court in Dayton postponed Wednesday.

Sterling Roberts and Tawnney Caldwell are two of the six co-defendants in what the FBI calls a “conspiracy” to murder Robert “Bobby” Caldwell – and they’re being tried together.

This used to be a federal death penalty case for Roberts and Caldwell. That’s no longer the case for either of them. The death penalty has been taken off the table.


Defense lawyers for both Roberts and Tawnney Caldwell each asked the court for a continuance. They made the same argument in front of Judge Thomas H. Rose on Wednesday afternoon at the Walter H. Rice Federal Building in downtown Dayton.

Defense teams argued that they have had challenges in visiting in person with their jailed clients because of the COVID-19 pandemic and need more time to review evidence the FBI has gathered. The defense was given what they described in court Wednesday as “massive” amounts of evidence that include phone records and text messages.

Judge Rose approved the requests for continuance and moved the trial for Caldwell and Roberts to Nov. 30. Trial had been scheduled to begin in early July.

When Bobby Caldwell was shot to death in Riverside on Aug. 15, 2017, Sterling Roberts was dating Tawnney Caldwell – Bobby’s ex-wife.

According to the FBI, Roberts shot and killed Bobby in a parking lot in front of his three boys. A judge had given Bobby full custody of the children just days earlier after a long custody battle with Tawney.

Tawney Caldwell, Sterling Roberts and four others were all charged in federal court in Bobby Caldwell’s slaying.

Bobby was buried Aug. 21, 2017 and his oldest son, Jacob Caldwell, disappeared that same day.

Jacob was found a little more than a year later when he surfaced at a home on Spring Valley Pike in Miami Twp. in August 2018.

Three adults who lived at that address – Donald Bell, Jo Anne Henderson and Henderson’s son, Zacheriah – were charged and eventually convicted and sentenced in Miamisburg Municipal Court for their roles in keeping Jacob from his legal guardians after witnessing his father’s murder.

News Center 7 will have a reporter at the trial for Sterling Roberts and Tawnney Caldwell in November and bring you updates from federal court.