Stabbing death suspect interrupts Butler County judge, says ‘I’ll do my own trial’

Fifth attorney on case will stay, trial set for end of January.

For months, a man accused of killing his longtime girlfriend in October 2022 has complained about his attorneys, causing them to withdraw — and dragging out the litigation process. That ended Thursday when the judge told Toby Madden his fifth defense attorney would stay on the case for next month’s trial.

“I will see everyone Jan. 22,” said Butler County Judge Jennifer McElfresh.

Madden, who interrupted the judge several times as she rendered her decision on attorney Brad Kraemer’s motion to withdraw, spat, “Ma’am, I’ll do my own trial. I am not allowing that guy to be my lawyer.”

He continued to protest as court security escorted him from the courtroom and into the hall.

Toby Madden, 51, is charged with murder and felonious assault for the Oct. 11, 2022 stabbing death of Rachelle Brewsaugh on Parrish Avenue. Brewsaugh suffered more than 50 wounds, according to prosecutors. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 22 in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Madden nixed four defense attorneys, both retained and court-appointed, before Kraemer was assigned in September to represent Madden in the murder case and a pending drug case.

On Oct. 26 of this year, following a jury trial in which Madden testified in his own defense, he was found guilty of first-degree aggravated possession of drugs (methamphetamine) in common pleas Judge Greg Stephens’ courtroom.

Stephens sentenced Madden to an indefinite prison term of 11 to 16.5 years.

Kraemer, citing the drug case trial, filed the motion on November to withdraw in the murder case.

“Counsel recently represented defendant through a jury trial in another courtroom and there has since been a breakdown in communication between the parties, making it impossible for counsel to represent defendant effectively,” Kraemer wrote.

At Thursday’s hearing, Kraemer said, “Mr. Madden has long made the court aware, he didn’t want me appointed to the murder case in the first place.”

Kraemer said Madden’s family has told him not to talk to him and to stay away from him.

“It is hard to represent someone in a murder case who does not want me to represent them,” Kraemer said.

Assistant Prosecutor Brad Burress offered no opinion and deferred to the court.

McElfresh, citing case law and reminding Madden of letters penned to her as well as what his past attorneys termed as threats, told him he was entitled to competent court-appointed representation, but not one of his choosing.

She outlined the sequence of attorneys and their withdraws, noting in one letter Madden said “people are watching and threatening a hunger strike if the court did not adhere to his wishes.”

McElfresh said a forensic psychologist, who examined Madden at her request because he could not get along with any attorneys, said he was making repeated efforts to manipulate information.

“It is well established (in case law) that an indigent defendant is not entitled to the counsel of his choosing, but only competent, effective representation,” McElfresh said. “The right to counsel must be tempered by the public’s right to a prompt, orderly and efficient administration of justice.”

Madden interrupted the judge, saying witnesses were not called in the drug trial and said none of his lawyers in the murder case have “ever even subpoenaed the phone records (of the) deceased person.”

McElfresh also pointed out to Madden he has not waived his speedy trial rights in the case and wrote to her on several occasions, saying “time is of the essence.”

Madden is being held in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond.

She also told Madden that Kraemer is a competent, experienced attorney and ruled he would stay on the case.

Madden initially hired an attorney, but parted ways two months later, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Since then, three court-appointed attorneys withdrew from the case.

Conflicts with attorneys apparently began when Madden wanted Brewsbaugh’s body exhumed and re-autopsied. He lost the motion, which was denied by the judge — but McElfresh did approve funds for a defense pathology expert to review the findings.

Brewsaugh, 50, was found dead inside the home in the 1200 block of Parrish Avenue. Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Brad Burress said in court documents that Dr. Russell Uptegrove, the pathologist who performed the autopsy for the Butler County Coroner’s Office, determined the woman died of multiple stab wounds.

Uptegrove found approximately 55 wounds to Brewsaugh’s head, chest and abdomen, including puncture wounds to the heart, according to court documents. Brewsaugh did not have any drugs in her system at the time of her death.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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