Man accused in deadly Walmart shooting to get 3rd psychological evaluation

Brown is accused of robbing a Minnick’s Drive Thru employee at gunpoint last year.

Months before Anthony Brown was accused of firing gunshots inside a Fairfield Twp. Walmart that killed a customer, he was charged with robbing a Hamilton store at gunpoint.

Despite a psychological evaluation stating Brown is competent for trial in the murder case, a second evaluation was ordered. And Brown will receive a third in the aggravated robbery case.

Anthony F. Brown, 32, of Hamilton, who is charged with aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery, felonious assault and having weapons under disability was back in Butler County Common Pleas Court Tuesday for a competency evaluation hearing before Judge Dan Haughey.

Defense attorney Clyde Bennett II filed a “not guilty by reason of insanity” plea on Brown’s behalf. He also questioned his client’s competency to stand trial — meaning Brown is unable to assist in his own defense.

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A forensic psychological evaluation that was ordered in June concluded Brown is competent to stand trial and not eligible for an insanity plea, according to Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Katie Pridemore.

Bennett requested Brown receive a second psychological evaluation, which is permitted by law. Haughey granted that request.

Brown is scheduled to be back in that court Sept. 13 for a second competency hearing based on the result of the second evaluation.

The same day, Brown was in Butler County Common Pleas Judge Jennifer McElfresh’s courtroom for a hearing ahead of his scheduled Aug. 15 trial for aggravated robbery.

Brown is accused of robbing an employee at gunpoint at Minnick’s Drive Thru on Dixie Highway on Oct. 23, taking cash and lottery tickets. He was indicted for that crime on Dec. 8.

At the second hearing, Bennett filed a notice questioning Brown’s competency to stand trial and McElfresh ordered a psychological evaluation. The trial was cancelled and Brown is scheduled to be back in he is court also on Sept. 13 for hearing based on the result of that evaluation.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the multiple requests by the defense are permitted by law and that the incidents were months apart and not objectionable by the prosecution.

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Bennett previously told the Journal-News after having conversations with Brown, “he did not appear to be mentally normal.”

“He could not assist me with my defense. He did not appear to be lucid. Therefore his competency is an issue,” Bennett said. “When I sat with him after the Walmart incident he could not assist in his defense. If you can’t tell me what happened and you don’t know what happened and this is all a mystery and a fog to you, well hell, how do I know you knew what happened when it happened?”

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Brown, while allegedly trying to steal cell phones, is accused of shooting and killing Adam Black, 35, a Hamilton man who had recently moved to the area and who just learned he was going to be a father. Brown is also accused of shooting and wounding Eric Ruff, 57, of Fairfield, a Walmart employee who has been released from the hospital and is recovering.

A SWAT team took Brown into custody at a Fairfield Inn in Middletown several hours after the shooting. Gmoser said the investigation is continuing, including how Brown got to the Middletown hotel after the shootings.

Brown is being held in the Butler County Jail without bond.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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