Man sentenced to life in prison for killing father in front of 3 sons in Riverside

DAYTON — A man convicted of killing a man in front of his three sons in Riverside has been sentenced to prison.

Sterling Roberts was found guilty traveling interstate in August 2017 to murder Robert “Bobby” Caldwell in March. News Center 7 was in court Thursday morning when a federal judge sentenced Roberts to life in prison.

Roberts shot and killed Robert “Bobby” Caldwell in 2017 as Caldwell was walking out a family counseling session with his three children.

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An investigation found that Roberts was the boyfriend of Tawnney Caldwell, Robert Caldwell’s ex-wife. Tawnney and Bobby had an ongoing dispute regarding the custody of their children, according to the Department of Justice.

Roberts was later arrested in South Carolina after being involved in a shootout with deputies there.

News Center 7 was in court for opening statements of Roberts’ trial in March. It was then when U.S. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Amy Smith presented opening statements, arguing to the jury Bobby was a problem for Roberts and Tawnney Caldwell and that Roberts was there to “fix the problem.”

“Sterling shot Bobby again, and again and again — standing there over him, he fired more than 12 shots,” Smith said in court.

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Roberts was one of six people charged in connection to Bobby’s death. Tawnney Caldwell pleaded guilty to interstate stalking in 2020. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison in July of last year.

Also charged were Roberts’ brothers, Chance Deakin and Christopher Roberts; Tawnney’s mother, Chandra Harmon; and Tawnney’s step-father James Harmon. They each were previously convicted on charges connected to the cyberstalking and murder, according to the Department of Justice.

“This heinous crime continues the American tragedy of children seeing loved ones shot down in front of them,” said Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “Our justice system must work hardest to protect our society’s children by ensuring their physical safety and mental well-being.”

On Thursday, News Center 7 spoke with Bobby’s family after Roberts’ sentencing.

“I think the thing that frustrates me the most is it absolutely could have been avoided,” Candice Caldwell, Bobby’s widow, said.

Candice said it was difficult to think that Bobby had been stalked during his last days.

“This is my child,” Sally DeThomest, Bobby’s mother, said. “A mother’s job is to protect her child and I couldn’t protect him from this guy.”