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Press Release

Jury finds local man guilty of shooting, killing former girlfriend’s ex-husband in front of victim’s children

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

DAYTON, Ohio – A federal jury has convicted a Dayton man of traveling interstate to murder the former husband of his then-girlfriend after cyberstalking the victim.


Sterling H. Roberts, 38, of Dayton, was found guilty of shooting and killing Robert Caldwell in August 2017. As a previously convicted felon, Roberts was prohibited from possessing the firearm he used in furtherance of the crime of violence.


The verdict was announced today following a trial that began on March 8 before Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Rose.


According to court documents and trial testimony, around 6pm on Aug. 15, 2017, Robert Caldwell and his three minor children left a counseling appointment in Riverside, Ohio. While crossing the parking lot, Roberts shot Robert Caldwell multiple times in front of his children and died at the scene.


Roberts’ girlfriend at the time, co-defendant Tawnney Caldwell, and the murder victim had an ongoing dispute regarding the custody of their children. The two, along with four other co-defendants, collaborated to plan, execute and cover-up the murder.


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


Between the time of the attempted homicide and the eventual murder of Robert Caldwell, Roberts fled to a relative’s home in Tennessee. Tawnney Caldwell traveled interstate and brought him back to Ohio, stopping in Kentucky to illegally purchase Roberts an AK-47 rifle.


Sterling Roberts’ brothers, Chance Deakin and Christopher Roberts; Chandra Harmon (Tawnney’s mother); and James Harmon (Tawnney’s step-father) were each charged in March 2018 and have been convicted of crimes related to the cyberstalking and murder.


Tawnney Caldwell was sentenced in July 2021 to 35 years in prison for interstate stalking resulting in death.


Roberts faces up to life in prison; a sentencing date has not yet been set.


Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; Riverside Police Chief Frank Robinson and Sugarcreek Township Police Chief Michael Brown announced today’s guilty verdict. Assistant United States Attorneys Amy M. Smith, Sheila G. Lafferty and Kevin Koller are representing the United States in this case.

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Updated March 23, 2022

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime