Man accused in fatal Fairfield Twp. Walmart shooting gets trial date

Suspect is involved in a separate robbery case which is continued until July 6.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

HAMILTON — A summer trial date has been set for a man accused of firing gunshots inside a Fairfield Twp. Walmart that killed a customer in the spring of 2022.

Anthony F. Brown, 32, of Hamilton, charged with aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery, felonious assault and having weapons under disability, was back in Butler County Common Pleas Judge Dan Haughey’s courtroom Tuesday for a pretrial hearing.

Defense attorney Clyde Bennett II previously 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.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A forensic psychological evaluations ordered this year concluded Brown is competent to stand trial and not eligible for an insanity plea, according to prosecutors.

On Tuesday, Haughey ruled Brown competent for trial and set the trial date for June 26.

But Bennett said he is leaving the insanity plea as an option.

An insanity plea means the defendant at the time of the offense did not know, as a result of a severe mental disease or defect, the wrongfulness of their actions. It is an element that can be presented at trial for jury consideration.

Also on Tuesday, Brown’s pending aggravated robbery case in common pleas Judge Jennifer McElfresh’s courtroom was continued until July 6.

Brown is accused of robbing an employee at gunpoint at Minnick’s Drive Thru on Dixie Highway on Oct. 15, 2021, taking cash and lottery tickets. He was out of jail on a $200,000 bond for that alleged crime at the time of the Walmart shooting.

In the May 26 incident at Walmart, 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 survived.

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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