Man pleads guilty to gang involvement tied to 2 Middletown murders

Man pleads guilty to gang involvement tied to 2 Middletown murders

The last of three men charged in a Middletown crime spree last fall that ended in the slaying of two people, admitted to being part of a criminal gang today in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Charles Ray Graham, 28, of 2002 Pearl St. was one of three men indicted for crimes in late October and November 2016 in Middletown that ended with the deaths of Tiffany Hoskins and Joseph Romano.

Prosecutors say Graham and co-defendants, Douglas Best and Derrick Brown, were members of gang called the Cincinnati White Boys.

Graham was indicted for attempted burglary for allegedly trying to break into Romano’s residence just days before the homicide and participating in a criminal gang. He pleaded guilty today in participating in a criminal gang, a second degree felony. The attempted burglary charge was dropped

Judge Greg Stephens set sentencing for Jan. 2. Graham faces a maximum of eight years in prison, but as part of the plea, a three-year prison sentence is expected. He is free on bond.

Douglas Best, 29, of Richmond Street, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of aggravated murder with gun specifications for the death of Romano at his Lafayette Avenue and for the shooting death of Hoskins, whose body was found inside a Jacoby Avenue house.

In April, Derrick Brown, 22, of 815 Crawford St., pleaded guilty as charged to attempted burglary, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and aggravated murder for his part in the death of Romano.

Both men are serving prison sentences of life with the possibility of parole after 51 years.

Romano was shot to death on Nov. 4, hit four times by bullets, three of them striking him in the chest, leg and neck. He was killed in his kitchen at 1517 Lafayette Ave., according to Middletown police.

Hoskins was found shot inside a home at 1507 Jacoby Ave. just hours later on Nov. 5. Middletown firefighters were called to the scene and found flames shooting from the second floor and Hoskins’ body at the top of the home’s stairway.

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