1 charged in Hamilton drive-by shooting pleads to avoid death penalty

CONTINUING COVERAGEbreaking

‘Overwhelming’ response for 9 children who found mother dead

1 charged in Hamilton drive-by shooting pleads to avoid death penalty

On the one-year anniversary of a drive-by shooting in Hamilton that killed two men, one of four people facing the death penalty if convicted has chosen not to take a chance on a jury.

Melinda Gibby, 35, of Lancaster, pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of aggravated murder. The defense and prosecutors agreed to a sentence of 30 years to life for Gibby, but her sentencing is not scheduled until February 2018.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said Gibby will not be sentenced until after her cooperation in the trials of three others later this year.

Last month marked the one-year anniversary of the shootout at Doubles Bar in the city’s west side that killed one person and wounded seven others. The shooting sparked retaliation violence on the afternoon of Aug. 3, 2016, that killed two people.

According to prosecutors, Michael Grevious II, one of the men involved in the Doubles shootout, hired Zachary Harris to kill Orlando Gilbert for $5,000.

Then on that afternoon in August 2016, a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Gibby pulled up next to a black Ford Mustang occupied by Gilbert and Todd Berus. Tony Patete, the front seat passenger of the truck, opened fire with an AK-47 multiple times, killing Gilbert and Berus, according to court documents.

Grevious, charged with aggravated murder and felonious assault for the Doubles shootout, is scheduled to stand trial Sept. 25.

Harris, 24, of Columbus, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder, and is scheduled for trial Oct. 23.

Patete, 23, of Newark, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder. He will be the last to stand trial on Dec. 4.

Weather and Traffic