GALLIPOLIS — After being found guilty by a jury last Thursday of aggravated murder and tampering with evidence, Bruce A. Hively will be sentenced in the Common Pleas Court of Gallia County next week.
Hively, 56, is scheduled to appear before Judge D. Dean Evans for sentencing at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 20, according to court officials.
Following three days of testimony, the defendant was found guilty on the fourth day of trial last week of murdering Charles T. Addis, 18, Crown City, on the evening of April 4, 2013, near the Dickey Chapel Church parking lot at the intersection of Elliott Road and Hannan Trace Road in southern Gallia County.
During the trial that began last Monday in the common pleas court, the State of Ohio, represented by Assistant Gallia County Prosecutors Eric Mulford and Britt Wiseman, called expert and eyewitnesses to the stand to discuss the events that unfolded on the date in question. The state also presented a key piece of evidence during the trial: a cell phone video taken by Knepper that captures the majority of the events that day — a video that was played multiple times for the jury at trial.
According to testimony, on the evening on April 4, 2013, Hively, who was traveling on Elliott Road to the intersection of Hannan Trace Road, passed the victim, Charles Addis, his brother, Aaron Addis, and Anthony “Kyle” Knepper, who were all gathered at the Dickey Chapel Church parking lot.
After traveling to the stop sign and then turning around, Hively parked his vehicle on the left side of the roadway where an argument ensued between himself, Knepper and Charles Addis — an argument that lead to Hively shooting and killing Charles Addis.
Hively, who is the holder of a concealed-carry permit, reportedly discharged his gun four consecutive times that evening at the body of Addis, while Knepper and Aaron Addis ran from the scene and took cover in the nearby cemetery.
The defendant, in a interview with police, also subsequently admitted to cutting himself with his own knife and placing that knife under the body of Addis prior to the arrival of authorities — an action that was the derivative of the tampering with evidence charge.
Soon after the shooting, emergency responders arrived on scene and Hively was taken into custody, while Charles Addis — who had two bullet wounds to the chest — was pronounced dead at the scene. Hively has remained incarcerated in the Gallia County Jail since his arrest in April under a $750,000, 10 percent bond.
During closing arguments on Thursday morning, jurors heard from Mulford who summarized the state’s arguments at trial.
“At the end of the day, ladies and gentlemen, this entire incident was avoidable. This entire incident was the result of the defendant’s choices. The defendant’s choices on April 4, 2013, were not just bad choices, those choices were criminal under the laws of the State of Ohio,” Mulford told the jury.
The attorney for the defendant, Charles Knight, maintained throughout the trial that this case was the case of self-defense as Hively, who had lived for several years on Elliott Road near the Addis family, had reportedly had ongoing “problems” and disputes with the Addis family.
“[Hively] has never been arrested for anything, he’s never been in trouble. He, mostly, took care of the neighborhood, took care of his own property and was very concerned with what happened out in his neighborhood,” Knight said in his closing argument. “Up until a few months before this incident, he lived half a mile from the parking lot where this all started. He had numerous problems with theft and he had his suspicions … his suspicions were the Addises, and he had problems with Knepper. He even told them, ‘look, I’ve had this stuff stolen. People have told me that you’re the one who did it. I want you to stay away from me, stay away from my wife, stay away from my property, just stay away from me.’ He just wanted to be left alone.”
After deliberating for approximately three and a half hours on Thursday afternoon, the jury returned with guilty verdicts to both aggravated murder and tampering with evidence.
Tampering with evidence is a third degree felony, and, in the State of Ohio, can elicit a prison sentence of nine, 12, 18, 24, 30 or 36 months.
Aggravated murder is a special category felony and is punishable by a sentence of life imprisonment.