menu Home
Local News

Suspect in accidental shooting, body dumping case pleads guilty

| November 1, 2022
Dalbert Sanders, 37, of Uhrichsville, signs a change of plea change form during a hearing before Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Ernest. (WJER Radio)

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Nov. 1, 2022) – A 37-year-old Uhrichsville man will be spending at least three years in prison for fatally shooting a friend, abusing his corpse, and tampering with evidence.

That’s the minimum sentence Dalbert Sanders faces after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, and handling firearms while intoxicated for the May 15th death of 37-year-old John Bashline. Sanders admitted to those crimes and several others this morning during a hearing before Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Ernest, who made it clear that probation isn’t an option.

“I’m not going to be placing you on community control,” he said. “You’re going to prison. If you admit to a case where there’s a gun specification, you know right out of the gate that you’re going to have three years in prison.”

Investigators say Sanders shot Bashline while playing a game with a handgun during a birthday party at a home on Feed Springs Road and that he and two other Uhrichsville men placed the body in the backseat of Bashline’s car and left it parked along McKee Road in Dennison. Today’s plea change was part of a negotiated agreement between Sanders, his public defender, and Prosecutor Ryan Styer, who won’t be recommending a specific punishment. 

“I usually tell people I’m not bound to their promises but this is no promise from the State of Ohio,” the judge told Sanders. “This is going to be an open sentencing. I’m going to be restricted, though, to impose what I believe is the appropriate sentence after hearing from everyone to those limitations that I’ve already discussed.”

Ernest could order up to 15 years in prison when he sentences Sanders for the crimes on December 13th. His co-defendants – Michael and Dominic Reynolds – are charged with gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. Both are free on their own recognizance they wait to be tried on the charges.

Written by