Teen pleads guilty, gets life sentence in fatal Middletown shooting over $60 marijuana debt

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What to know about how the court process works in Butler County.

He’ll spend at least 15 years in prison for role in Jan. 31 incident.

A trial was scheduled to begin Monday afternoon in Butler County Common Pleas Court for the last of three teens charged in a robbery attempt that turned deadly last winter in Middletown, but instead he entered a guilty plea and was sent to prison.

Karlos Chase Philpot,18, was indicted in February for murder, two counts of aggravated robbery, four counts of felonious assault and improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation for a Jan. 31 incident where a woman was killed at a Wilbraham Road residence.

Karlos Chase Philpot BUTLER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
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Karlos Chase Philpot BUTLER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Philpot pleaded guilty to murder in Judge Greg Stephens’ courtroom three hours before his trial was scheduled to begin. The remaining charges were dismissed. The plea carried a mandatory sentence and Stephens then imposed that sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole in 15 years.

Juvenile co-defendants who were tried as adults, 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 slaying.

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

Prosecutors say Rhodus was handling the gun and shot the woman who was visiting a family member at the residence.

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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 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.

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.

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According to court documents, Rhodus said he went to the residence armed with the two others 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-olds in the door, it said.

After the door hit the teen’s arm, Rhodus stated he started pulling the trigger because it upset him, according to the complaint signed by detective Ken Mynhier.

Combs was struck by gunfire as she walked down the steps, according to prosecutors.

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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