Man accused in fatal Walmart shooting gets new attorney; summer trial canceled

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

HAMILTON — A new attorney has been appointed to represent a man accused of a fatal shooting last spring in a Fairfield Twp. Walmart.

Anthony F. Brown, 32, of Hamilton, is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, felonious assault and having weapons under disability for the May 26, 2022, double shooting that killed a customer at the Princeton Road store.

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Last week, Clyde Bennett II was permitted to withdraw from Brown’s case citing “irreconcilable differences.” Bennett was retained to represent Brown at the time of his arrest.

Butler County Common Pleas Judge Dan Haughey said he had received a letter from Brown “expressing dissatisfaction with present counsel (Bennett).”

Neither Bennett or the judge elaborated about the reason.

Attorney Philip Stephens from the Butler County public defender office is now Brown’s attorney of record. Brown and his new attorney are scheduled to be back in court April 18 for a pretrial hearing.

The judge previously set Brown’s trial for June 26, but that date was vacated Tuesday, and a new trial date was not set.

In January, after a series of legal maneuvering, including questions of competency and sanity raised by Bennett, Brown was declared fit for trial.

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In the May 26 incident at Walmart, Brown allegedly tried to steal cell phones. He 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 also is 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.

Brown is also 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.

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

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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