Several recent incidents and court cases have highlighted what local investigators say is gang-related violent activity in Butler County.
Here’s a sampling of notable events in the past three years:
Aug. 3, 2016: Two men, Orlando Gilbert and Todd Berus, are killed in a retaliation shooting one month after a shooting at Doubles Bar.
Jan. 1, 2017: Two people die after a New Year’s Day shooting and crash in Middletown. Teresa Shields, 26, is shot multiple times as a passenger in a vehicle after leaving a New Year’s Eve party at 513 Lounge on Verity Parkway. The driver Stevie Waldon, of Dayton and formerly of Middletown, is hit by rifle fire about 2:29 a.m. Jan. 1 on Roosevelt Boulevard near Wicoff Street.
May 30, 2017: Malcolm Franklin, 28, of Louisiana, shoots and kills Julian Johnson outside D&J’s Nite Spot in Middletown. Franklin later is sentenced to 40 years to life in prison.
April 27, 2018: Hamilton’s Michael Grevious II, 25, is found guilty of aggravated murder in a 2016 murder for hire. He is sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton. Grevious is found not guilty of felonious assault and having weapons under disability in connection to the Doubles Bar shooting in July 2016.
May 29, 2018: Gonnii White, 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. Earlier this month, White’s trial was continued for a fourth time.
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 in May in Butler County Common Pleas Court, but was continued by Judge Noah Powers II until June 10 at the request of the defense.
Aug. 29, 2018: Jaraius Gilbert Jr., 13, is shot and killed in Hamilton. Kameron Tunstall and Miquan Hubbard are both convicted.
Dec. 14, 2018: Benny Barefield, 48, of the 800 block of Ninth Avenue, is found shot in his red Buick Lucerne at the corner of Yankee Road and Ninth Avenue. Barefield’s son, Benwan Edwards, 25, is arrested by FBI agents six months later on drug charges.
Jan. 26, 2019: Londale Harvey is shot and killed at the intersection of Pleasant and Fairview avenues in Lindenwald. The shooting remains unsolved.
May 6, 2019: Benwan Edwards, 25, of Middletown is taken into custody by federal agents after Middletown police collaborated with multiple agencies to serve multiple warrants in a bust of what Middletown Chief Rodney Muterspaw calls a “drug ring” that supplies as much as half of the drugs in the city. Muterspaw says the “drug ring” is believed to have a direct or indirect connection to the homicides of Teresa Shields, Benny Barefield, Kapriece Fuller, and others.
May 7, 2019: Three more people are arrested and charged with felonies following drug raids in Middletown. Dexter Mitchell, 31, of Mason, is charged with drug abuse-heroin and having weapons under disability. Alyx Shields, 23, of Middletown, is charged with drug abuse-heroin. Justin Castleman, 28, of Middletown, is charged with having weapons under disability.
May 9, 2019: Several law enforcement agencies search for a Middletown man who has a lengthy criminal history and served five years in prison for involuntary manslaughter in a Springboro neighborhood, but he’s not located. Marqui Conley, 26, of Seventeenth Avenue, is wanted on a charge of felony narcotics trafficking, FBI spokesperson Todd Lindgren says. He said Conley is considered armed and dangerous. He is allegedly part of a violent criminal organization based in Middletown believed to be involved in multiple homicides.