Butler County grandmother competent in infant’s shooting; trial continued for man in fatal Walmart shooting

There was movement in two pending high-profile cases this week in Butler County Common Pleas Judge Dan Haughey’s courtroom.

Mia Desiree Harris, the Liberty Twp. woman accused of shooting her infant granddaughter in the head, was declared competent Tuesday to stand trial after two forensic psychological evaluations, according to court documents.

A third evaluation was ordered at the request of the prosecution.

David Albrecht said the third evaluation will consider Harris’ insanity plea. She is scheduled to be back on court May 28 for the results.

Harris, 43, was indicted in December on three counts of felonious assault and improperly discharging a firearm at or into a habitation, all second-degree felonies.

At arraignment in January, Albrecht filed two motions questioning Harris’ competency to stand trial and pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

An insanity plea means the defendant at the time of the offense did not know, as a result of a severe mental disease or defect, the wrongfulness of their actions.

Incompetent for trial means means the defendant is unable to assist in their own defense and does not understand the criminal proceeding against them.

In February, prosecutors said the young victim is expected to live and is doing better than anyone expected.

Harris is accused of shooting a 6-month-old girl and assaulting two others shortly before 2 a.m. on Dec. 9 at Lakota Pointe Townhomes on Dutchview Court.

Harris is being held without bond.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Also on Tuesday, the fall trial of a man accused in the 2022 double shooting that killed one person at a Fairfield Twp. Walmart was continued.

Anthony Brown, 33, of Hamilton, is accused of the slaying while trying to rob the store of cell phones on May 26, 2022. He was arrested within hours after leading local law enforcement officials on a search. He was apprehended at a Middletown hotel.

A week later, Brown was indicted by a Butler County grand jury on counts of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, felonious assault and having weapons under disability for gun violence that killed a customer at the Princeton Road store.

In November 2023, Haughey set his trial date for Oct. 14, 2024. On Tuesday, the trial was continued one month to Nov. 13, 2024, at the request of the prosecution due to a scheduling conflict with a key officer in the case.

Brown was originally set for trial in June 2023, but it was cancelled after his retained attorney withdrew from the case, citing irreconcilable differences.

A second trial set for August 2023 with a new court-appointed attorney was also vacated when Brown indicated his family might hire an attorney he “could work with.”

That didn’t happen and Brown was appointed a new attorney, Brad Kraemer in July.

Brown is being held on $1.5 million bond based on public safety and the strength of the prosecution’s case.

Brown is accused of shooting and killing Adam Black, 35, a Hamilton man who had recently moved to the area and who just learned he was going to be a father. Brown also is accused of shooting and wounding Eric Ruff, 57, of Fairfield, a Walmart employee who survived.

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Katie Pridemore said the weight of evidence, including a note passed to the store clerk, a mask and the alleged murder weapon found at the time of Brown’s arrest, points to the need for substantial bond.

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