A 16-year-old Middletown teen will be tried as an adult following a hearing Friday, Aug. 10 in Butler County Juvenile Court. Gonnii White, sitting with attorney Dawn Garrett, is charged with murder and participating in a criminal gang in the shooting death of Joseph Davis, 17, near the corner of Woodlawn Avenue and Garfield Street during the late night hours of May 29. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Teen remains in jail awaiting Middletown gang shooting trial after fourth continuance

Gonnii White, now 17, is charged with murder with the specifications that he used a firearm and was participating in a gang at the time of the shooting death of Joesph Davis, 17, near the corner of Woodlawn Avenue and Garfield Street during the late-night hours of May 29, 2018.

White is being tried as an adult after the case was bound over to Common Pleas Court by Juvenile Court Judge Kathleen Romans. His trial was scheduled to begin today in Butler County Common Pleas Court, but was continued by Judge Noah Powers II until June 10 at the request of the defense.

MORE: Middletown teen indicted for gang-related fatal shooting

White’s attorney, Timothy Upton, said last week the trial be continued because “new developments require defense counsel more time to prepare for trial.”

Upton also noted the motion for a continuance that White’s first attorney withdrew for the case. He was assigned in December 2018.

In January, following a hearing during which a tape of Middletown detectives questioning the teen was played, Powers ruled White’s confession will be permitted as evidence at trial.

Upton filed a motion to suppress the statement, arguing White’s rights were violated. In the motion, Upton said White was 16 at the time of the interrogation by police and was not accompanied by an attorney, parent or guardian.

MORE: Detectives say this Middletown teen admitted to murder. His attorney want the confession thrown out

Assistant Prosecutor Brad Burress said in a written response that White was read his Miranda warning just seven minutes into the 60-minute interview with Detective Kristi Hughes and Detective Steve Winters after they asked basic questions including date of birth, phone number and family history.

The prosecution said White voluntarily made statements and was not coerced by the detectives in any way.

Powers agreed with the prosecution and overruled the motion to suppress.

MORE: Fatal shooting in Middleown: Teen suspect’s criminal past includes guns

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