An Ashley man was found guilty of five charges including attempted murder Thursday evening in Delaware County Common Pleas Court after a three-day trial.
A jury found Christopher Robin Sidders, 42, guilty of one count of attempted murder, a first-degree felony; two charges of felonious assault, second-degree felonies; and two counts of having weapons while under disability, third-degree felonies after deliberating for several hours Thursday.
Prosecutors allege that on March 22, Sidders was living at 9 N. Franklin St. in Ashley with his ex-wife Teresa Rogers and Jeffrey Shilt, a friend of Rogers. Prosecutors told the jury that in the early morning hours, Sidders went downstairs to Shilt’s room and shot him in the face.
He was arrested shortly after the shooting and indicted on April 1. Sidders has prior felony convictions for theft and burglary in Delaware County.
Shilt has since been released from the hospital.
Sidders testified in his defense first thing Thursday morning and told the jury he acted in self defense when he shot Shilt.
During direct examination by his defense attorney, Thomas Waldeck, Sidders said he had been upstairs in his and Roger’s bedroom when Rogers told him Shilt wanted to talk to him downstairs. Sidders previously testified that Rogers kept leaving Rogers to go back to Shilt and vice versa but said he had just asked Rogers to remarry him and she said yes.
Sidders said before he went downstairs he took a 9mm pistol with him because he and Shilt had violent encounters in the past.
Sidders testifed that he entered Shilt’s room and saw Shilt with a baseball bat standing on the other side of the room. Sidders testifed that he asked Shilt if he was going to hit him with the bat and said that Shilt responded with “maybe” before taking steps towars him and getting ready to swing the bat.
Sidders said a this point he pulled out his gun and shot at Shilt, hitting him in the jaw. “I was defending myself,” Sidders said.
However, during cross examination by Assistant County Prosecutor Mark Sleeper, Sidders admitted that parts of his story were untrue.
Sleeper focused on the shooting and asked Sidders to clarify details such as how much the two men talked before Sidders shot Shilt. Originally Sidders said there was only the question of if Shilt was going to hit him with the bat but during cross-examination Sidders divulged that there was an extended conversation between himself and Shilt.
Sidders said that he also told Shilt that [Shilt] needed to leave and warned him that the gun was loaded, seemingly contradicting the earlier version of the incident as a “split-second decision.”
Sleeper also asked Sidders about the firearm and whether or not he knew it was illegal for him to possess it since he was a convicted felon. Sidders said he was scared of Shilt and bought the gun to defend himself and thought it would be fine if he only had it around his house and didn’t leave with it. However, during further cross examination, Sidders said that he took the gun to go shooting with a friend at a date before the shooting.
Before he left the stand Sidders admitted that he had lied several times both to police who originally investigated and during his testimony.
Sidders was in the Delaware County Jail Thursday evening awaiting his sentencing hearing which was scheduled Friday morning.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.