Niles murder case going to trial Jan. 7

Staff report


Robin L. Caviness Jr., 39, of Elm Road in Howland, is set for trial Jan. 7 on a charge of murder, three counts of felonious assault and one of possession of a firearm in a liquor-permit premises in the June 11 shooting death of city man Clayton Bender, 23, behind a Niles tavern.

After a pretrial hearing Wednesday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, officials said the case is going to trial. There are no more hearings planned.

A check of local courts suggests that Caviness appears to have little to no criminal record after having lived in the area more than a decade. Caviness has indicated he has six children.

Caviness is accused of shooting Bender as Bender sat in the back seat of a Cadillac parked behind Madden’s Bar and Grill on Youngstown Road near North Road.

Police believe Bender and two other people had recently left a private gathering in the bar that was held to memorialize a man who was murdered several months earlier in Warren.

They also believe Caviness and others with him also may have just come from the bar. Police believe there was a physical altercation between the two groups before gunfire erupted.

Bender’s father, William Williams Sr. of Warren, told reporters after a hearing in June that Caviness “wasn’t supposed to be there.”

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