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Published: Tuesday, 6/6/2006

Lima man enters plea to slaying in Convoy

VAN WERT, Ohio - A Lima, Ohio, man who was on trial for aggravated murder in Van Wert County Common Pleas Court entered a no-contest plea yesterday to a bill of information charging him with murder.

James M. Scales, 21, Lima, is scheduled for sentencing this morning and faces 15 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years behind bars.

The prosecution said Scales and Rob Cushard went to the home of Daniel Radcliff, 82, of Westhaven Trailer Court in Convoy early on June 24, 2004, with the pretense of borrowing $200 from Mr. Radcliff.

Mr. Radcliff agreed to lend the money, left the room, and returned with a large bundle of money.

Prosecutors said Mr. Radcliff took $200 from the bundle and gave it to Cushard, who turned to leave.

Cushard alleged that Scales had picked up a hammer from the kitchen table and struck Mr. Radcliff. The prosecution said Scales took all the money from Mr. Radcliff and then Scales and Cushard apparently returned to Lima.

Mr. Radcliff made it to a nearby neighbor, who called for an ambulance. He died days later from what was determined to be injuries of blunt force trauma.

Scales was indicted in November, 2005. Cushard, who agreed to testify against Scales, was convicted on a charge of complicity to commit robbery and awaits sentencing.

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