Sanity hearing for man accused in Fairfield Twp. Walmart shooting continued for 4th time

HAMILTON — A sanity hearing for a man accused of firing gunshots inside a Fairfield Twp. Walmart that killed a customer was continued Tuesday for a fourth time.

Anthony F. Brown, 32, of Hamilton, who is charged with aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery, felonious assault and having weapons under disability was scheduled to be back in Butler County Common Pleas Judge Dan Haughey, but the case was continued to Dec. 13 after attorneys met in chambers.

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.

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 prosecutors.

ExplorePHOTO ARCHIVE: 1 dead in shooting at Walmart in Fairfield Twp.

Bennett requested Brown receive a second psychological evaluation on the insanity question and that evaluation also did not support the insanity plea, according to Assistant Prosecutor Katie Pridemore. Bennett requested more time for a third evaluation and the case was continued to December.

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.

Also on Tuesday, Brown was in Butler County Common Pleas Judge Jennifer McElfresh’s courtroom for a hearing on the charge of aggravated robbery. That case was continued until Dec. 15.

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 indicted for that crime on Dec. 8, 2021. He was out of jail on a $200,000 bond for the added robbery charge of the Walmart shooting.

ExploreMother: Son killed in Walmart shooting just learned he was going to be a father

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

But in the past few months, Bennett said Brown’s mental state has improved.

ExploreBond for man accused in deadly Walmart shooting to be reconsidered

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

About the Author