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UPDATE: Matthew Dowdel Sentenced to 30 Years to Life in Prison


“We the jury find the defendant, Matthew Dowdel, guilty of murder.”

The jury found Matthew Dowdel guilty in 6 of the 7 counts he was facing  including the murder of Joseph Strother last spring at Sally Buffalo Park.

Many of Strother’s family were in the courtroom for the emotional verdict.

“When they said guilty it was just this huge release,” said Strother’s widow,  Tami. “I was so elated to finally feel like yes, they followed the directions, they looked at the evidence and they found him guilty. I just can’t explain how elated I was over that.”

Harrison County Prosecutor Owen Beetham hopes today’s verdict will bring Strother’s family and friends closure.

“Nothing can bring Mr. Strother back but hopefully this verdict will provide some solace for the family,” he said.

Aaron Miller, Dowdel’s defense attorney, said they accept the jury’s verdict and believes it would have been different if his client would have spoken up during Strother’s murder.

“He was with Eve Kelley when this event happened and he continued to stay with her throughout the process,” he said. “If at some point he would have said, ‘Look you killed this person I’m leaving’, I think we would have had a significantly different result.”UPDATE: 2:38 p.m. Friday

Matthew Dowdel has been sentenced to 30 years to life in prison for the murder of Joseph Strother.

Judge Hervey sentenced Dowdel to 15 years to life on the murder charge, 11 years on the charge of aggravated robbery, 3 years for tampering with evidence and 1 year for grand theft auto, to be served consecutively. 

UPDATE 10:50 a.m. Friday

Jury finds Matthew Dowdel guilty on six of seven counts, including murder. With all counts Dowdel faces a maximum of 32 years to life in prison.

His sentencing is set for 2 p.m.

UPDATE 10:00 a.m. Friday

The jury has reached a verdict in the murder trial of Matthew Dowdel, accused of killing Joseph Strother of Cadiz, OH in Sally Buffalo Park last year.



A jury is deliberating the fate of Matthew Dowdel, the Harrison County, OH man accused of murdering Joseph Strother of Cadiz, OH in Sally Buffalo Park last year. The jury entered deliberations around 1:30 p.m. and concluded for the night at 10:00 p.m.

The jury will resume their deliberations first thing Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. at the Harrison County Courthouse.

Day three of the trial was filled with waiting and closing arguments. 

Harrison County Prosecutor Jeff Bruzzese said all of the substantial physical and verbal evidence they presented will prove Dowdel is guilty of nine charges against him.

Dowdel’s attorney, Aaron Miller, painted a different picture, pointing the finger at Dowdel’s accomplice, Eve Kelley, who testified against Dowdel. Kelley has already been sentenced for involuntary manslaughter. 

“Somebody took one hand and they beat this man to death,” Miller said. “That person was Eve Kelley.”

Bruzzese went on to say there is no doubt Dowdel is guilty.

“His lawyer says Eve Kelley is guilty of killing Joe Strother, but that killing happened as a result of a car that they were stealing together,” he said. “That makes Matthew Dowdel guilty.”

In closing arguments, Miller told the jury to find his client guilty of grand theft of a motor vehicle and complicity to grand theft of a motor vehicle, not to killing Strother.

In response to Miller’s closing statements, Bruzzese told jurors Miller was only telling them to convict his client of the grand theft auto charges to misdirect the jury and they they should focus on the evidence that supports Eve Kelley’s testimony. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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