Marion Death House Sells for Peanuts
From the Columbus Dispatch, Saturday, December 1, 2001

7-Year-Old Was Raped, Slain There, Authorities Say

By Tom Sheehan

MARION, Ohio -- A faded "no trespassing" sign hangs near the front door of the small two-story house on Central Street, on the city's west side. Two broken-down cars waste away in the back yard.

On a tragic weekend in August 2000, the red frame house became the city's most notorious address, where authorities say a 7-year-old girl was held hostage, raped and then murdered.

The county quietly auctioned the property yesterday to cover back taxes and other debts owed by Barry Satta, who is serving a life sentence in prison. A jury convicted him in June of Bobbie Jo Barry's murder. He has appealed. Valued at $21,730, according to a recent appraisal by the Marion County auditor, the Satta house, vacant and neglected for years, sold for thousands less.

Bidding started at $4,400. Two people considered the 1,300-square- foot structure despite auctioneer Ed Newell's warning: "The property is being sold as is. What you see is what you get."

As a few onlookers watched, Anthony Siler of Columbus upped Ayers Ratliff's $5,000 bid by $100.

Ratliff of Marion declined to raise him.

"Any house for $5,000 or less is a good deal," Ratliff said.

He said he was aware that Satta, who didn't live in the house, had owned it since his parents left it to him when they died in the mid-1980s.

"When something happens in a house, it's not the house's fault," Ratliff said. "As time goes on, it would recover its value."

A marketing director for a Boston student-loan company, Siler said he's handy at remodeling and plans to eventually rent or sell the house.

That could take some time if outward appearances are reflected inside. The roof has holes and appears heavily damaged. The house also needs painting. Siler said he was aware Satta was the owner.

He paid a $1,000 deposit yesterday. The balance is due within 30 days. The assistant county prosecutor, who handles foreclosures and other civil cases, said she was somewhat surprised the house sold given its background. The county waited until after Satta's conviction before it decided what to do with the house, Susan Bruder said.

"If it remained vacant, (such) houses attract vagrants, kids" and other problems, she said.

Satta owes about $3,000 in property taxes from 2000 and before. Taxes for 2001 will be factored in by the end of the year. The total amount due the county is about $4,400, including foreclosure costs, Bruder said. Any leftover proceeds will pay other Satta debts.

Dodi Mawer lives on Waterloo Street, just west of the Satta house. She said she's pleased the house sold.

"I'd like to see something (nice) happen to it," she said.

News Watch