1 admits guilt, 2 awaiting trial in fatal Middletown shooting allegedly over $60 marijuana debt

They face murder, other felony charges in January incident at Wilbraham Road residence.

One teen who is being tried as an adult has taken a plea deal while two others, one an adult, await trial for a fatal January shooting in Middletown.

Timathy Rhodus, 17, and Elliot Shepherd II, 17, were each indicted in April for murder with gun specifications and other felonies for the Jan. 31 incident where a woman was killed at a Wilbraham Road residence.

The teens were charged shortly after the slaying in juvenile court and both cases where bound over to adult court by Juvenile Court Judge Erik Niehaus after probable cause hearings. Because the age of the boys and the seriousness of the crimes, the cases were mandatory bind overs to the adult division if the judge found probable cause.

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In addition to murder, Rhodus was indicted on four counts of felonious assault and improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation. Shepherd was indicted on two counts of aggravated robbery, four counts of felonious assault and improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation in addition to murder.

Earlier this month, Shepherd pleaded guilty in Butler County Common Pleas Court to involuntary manslaughter with gun specification. He faces a maximum of 12 years in prison. Sentencing will not happen until after the co-defendants’ cases are completed, according to prosecutors.

Rhodus is scheduled to be back in court June 25 for a pretrial hearing. Both remain incarcerated.

A trial for a third adult suspect, Karlos Chase Philpot, 18, was scheduled to begin Monday but was continued until Oct. 18 at the request of the defense. Philpot was indicted in February for murder, two counts of aggravated robbery, four counts of felonious assault and improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation.

Philpot is being held on $250,000 bond in the Butler County Jail.

Angela Combs, 41, was shot about 9 p.m. in an apartment in the 3100 block of Wilbraham Road by suspects who came to the door armed and apparently looking for payment of a debt, according to court documents. Combs was transported to Atrium Medical Center, where she died.

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According to court documents, one of the 17-year-olds said he went to the residence armed with two other people to “get $60 that was owed to him for marijuana.”

The person who opened the door attempted to shut it and caught one of the 17-year-old’s arms in the door, it said.

“After the door hit (the teen’s arm) he stated he started pulling the trigger because it upset him,” according to the complaint signed by Detective Ken Mynhier.

The resident who was also shot told police he was at home with Combs and other friends and family when there was a knock at the door. The man said they opened the door and saw three people with guns and masks and tried to close the door.

He said one of the three was able to put his hand through the door and fired. The resident said he recognized one of the suspects from the voice and hair.

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