A Springfield man convicted of killing his tenant with a sword was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.
Jason Waller, 36, was sentenced on one count each of murder, tampering with evidence and carrying a concealed weapon. On the tampering and concealed weapons charges, Clark County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard O’Neill sentenced Waller to a year and six months in prison, but those terms will run concurrently with the murder sentence. Waller faced a possible 19 and a half years in prison if sentenced to the maximum.
Waller made no statements in court, holding a tattered Bible he carried with him each day during the trial. He was identified as a religious man and former jail chaplain by his attorney, Jon Paul Rion.
Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Carey said had he adhered to his religious beliefs, he wouldn’t have been convicted.
“The Bible definitely says ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ Had the defendant followed that he wouldn’t be in this situation today,” he said.
Donald Argabright, 26, was killed last April after Waller stabbed him in the chest with what was described as a foot-long, curved sword. Waller was reportedly trying to get Argabright and his girlfriend to leave his home at 154 Kewbury Road, but hadn’t filed eviction papers. Rion maintained Waller feared for his safety, which is why he brought the blade and a gun, which he didn’t use, when he confronted his tenants.
“This was just a split-second wrong decision,” he said. “The only reason a sword was brought or a knife was brought to this situation was because of the reputation of Mr. Argabright. He was known to be a dangerous person.”
Tiffany Argabright, the victim’s sister, read a statement saying her brother would finally be at peace with the sentence. She said she wouldn’t paint a perfect picture of her brother, but didn’t deserve his fate.
“It’s sad because now I have to go visit my brother in a graveyard,” she said. “I love him and I miss him.”
Rion said he plans to file an appeal.
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