Second teen admits guilt in fatal Middletown shooting over $60 marijuana debt

He faces at least 16 years in prison for role in Jan. 31 incident where woman killed.

The second of three teens charged in an apparent robbery attempt that turned deadly last winter in Middletown has admitted guilt.

Timathy Rhodus and Elliot Shepherd II, both 17 at the time of the crime, 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. They are being tried as adults.

Rhodus pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday with a one-year gun specification in Butler County Common Pleas Court. The other charges, including felonious assault, were dismissed, according to court records.

Judge Dan Haughey set sentencing for Oct. 26. Rhodus faces a maximum of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 16 years.

Shepherd pleaded guilty in May in Butler County Common Pleas Court to involuntary manslaughter with a 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.

A trial for the third adult suspect, Karlos Chase Philpot,18, is scheduled to begin Oct. 18. 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.

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

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 the arm of one of the 17-year-old’s 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 also was 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 his voice and hair.

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