Trial canceled for man accused in 2022 stabbing death after alleged threat against attorney

On Oct. 11, 2022, Rachelle Brewsaugh was stabbed to death in her Hamilton residence. After multiple delays caused by her accused killer’s fallouts with five defense attorneys, a trial was scheduled to begin Monday. That now will not happen.

Toby Madden’s trial in Butler County Common Pleas Court has be cancelled after allegations he made statements he would assault his latest defense attorney.

Madden, 51, is charged with murder and felonious assault for allegedly killing his longtime girlfriend at their Parrish Avenue house. Brewsaugh suffered more than 50 wounds, according to prosecutors.

Earlier this month, Judge Jennifer McElfresh denied attorney Brad Kraemer’s second request to withdraw from the case and declined Madden’s waiver to represent himself after the defendant said multiple times he was being “compelled” to act as his own counsel.

The judge noted four prior attorneys had been assigned to Madden’s case, and the defendant had problems with all of them, including one who was retained.

“The court really doesn’t believe that Mr. Madden would be satisfied with any attorney that would represent him. You have given me an excuse for every attorney you had. The court doesn’t want for force you into representing yourself, sir. But I am not going to revisit the issue of appointing another attorney.”

Madden continued to interrupt the judge, and she cautioned him that he would have to behave in court or he could be gagged or forced to watch the trial from another room.

Plans then moved forward for a trial scheduled to begin Jan. 22

Additional concerns about courtroom safety led to another hearing on Tuesday.

Butler County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jason Owens, who supervises security in the Government Services building, testified Madden stated to a security officer following a December hearing that he would “smack or hit Mr. Kraemer.”

It was Owens’ recommendation that Madden wear a stun vest that is not visible to the jury during trial so that a deputy in the room could activate it remotely if Madden became unruly.

McElfresh said she takes the security of the courtroom “very seriously” and questioned Kraemer about his ability to represent Madden given the alleged threat.

Since the Dec. 21 hearing Kraemer and Madden have been separated in the courtroom, with Madden handcuffed and seated in the jury box under the watch of several deputies.

“It makes if very difficult to have a meaningful attorney client relationship with Mr. Madden, if I am concerned about my safety instead of being concerned about representing him in this case,” Kraemer said.

McElfresh then permitted Kraemer to withdraw and cancelled the trial.

“I am not going to put you in a position where your physical safety could be compromised and where you are unable to do your job because of the alleged threats of this defendant,” McElfresh said.

Madden mumbled, “I didn’t threaten him.” and continued to make statements of what he perceived to be lack of preparation for trial.

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Brad Burress said, “We have done everything to assure Mr. Madden has gotten the speedy trial he requested. But just about every delay in this case is attributed to Mr. Madden.”

McElfresh scheduled a pre-trial for next week to determine the next move in the case. Because Madden was represented at one point by the county public defender office, a “conflict attorney” not a part or the public defender office must be appointed to represent Madden.

All the conflict attorneys on the list in Butler County have been appointed and withdrawn from Madden’s case.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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

Madden initially hired an attorney, but parted ways two months later, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Since then, 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. In court documents 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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