Prosecutors want teen charged in fatal Middletown shooting tried as an adult

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Combined ShapeCaption
Teen charged in connection with fatal Middletown shooting

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Butler County prosecutors want a Middletown teen charged in connection with last month’s shooting death of a Middletown man tried as an adult.

The 17-year-old, who is charged with conspiracy to aggravated murder and participating in a criminal gang for the Dec. 14 murder of Benny Barefield while he sat in his car at Ninth Avenue and Yankee Road, was in Butler County Juvenile Court on Monday. A probable cause hearing was set for Jan. 29. by Judge Ronald Craft.

Prosecutors have filed notice to have the case sent to adult court for trial.

MORE: Latest homicide charges underline fight against gangs, Middletown chief says

The teen sat with his hands on the defense table and smiled when his family entered the courtroom. He was permitted to talk with his family and was kissed multiple times by his mother,but was told to keep his hands behind his back.

Craft ordered the teen, who will be 18 in September, to remain in the county juvenile detention center until the next court hearing.

The teen and three men — Quanterius Keith, Dwight Bailey II and Daniel Fitzgerald, all 21 — are accused of conspiring to kill the 48-year-old father of 10 children. Police say Keith, who is charged with aggravated murder, pulled the trigger.

Middletown police say the four are either a part of the Road Runner gang or conspired with gang members in the killing and that the incident is part of a string of crimes in the city.

MORE: Teen charged Middletown homicide has criminal past tied to drugs, gangs

The teen has a criminal record with ties to drugs and gangs in juvenile court dating back to 2016, according to court records provided by Court Administrator Rob Clevenger.

Defense attorney Kim Bui said she understood the teen was not going to be released now, but if prosecutors filed amended lesser charges in the future, she requested his release be considered again.

Bui said her client graduated from high school at the age of 16 and had been working as a roofer. She also noted he has never been sent to the Ohio Department of Youth Services, which is prison for juveniles. She declined comment after the hearing.

MORE: Victim identifed in weekend fatal crash in Butler County

Barefield family members were in attendance and left the courtroom without comment.

The judge ordered there be no contact between the teen and the the victim’s family. He also told families on both sides of the courtroom to keep emotions in check while in court and not to contact each other via social media.

“I know it is difficult, there are a lot of emotions going on here,” Craft said. “But please, we need to have an orderly proceeding.”

Keith and Bailey are scheduled to be in Middletown Municipal Court on Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing. Middletown police are still looking for Fitzgerald.

About the Author