Trial date set for man accused in fatal Hamilton shooting

A trial date has been set for a man accused of murder in the shooting death of Tracy Miller last summer in a parking lot outside a Hamilton bar.

Last month Ramello Mathews, 29, was ruled competent to stand trial by a Butler County Common Pleas judge following multiple forensic psychological evaluations and a review of interrogation tapes and jailhouse calls.

On Monday, Mathews was back in court, where Judge Greg Stephens set trial for July 15.

The judge also approved payment of $3,000 for a defense expert to complete a forensic analysis of Mathews’ phone to determine the location at the time of the crime.

The trial will happen more than year after Miller was shot and killed on June 25 in the parking lot outside the Dayton Lane Pub.

The legal process was slowed down by forensics evaluations of Mathews. He was evaluated three times by different forensic psychologists with two ruling he was incompetent and a one finding him competent.

Competent to stand trial means the defendant understands the proceedings and can assist in their defense. Competency can be questioned because of a number of factors — intelligence level, drug use, mental illness, injury or a combination.

Defense attorney William Oswall Jr. filed a motion requesting evaluation, stating Mathews “may have a mental disease or defect ... that made him unable to fully comprehend the proceedings in the court at this time and/or unable to assist counsel in preparation and defense of his case.”

In the written ruling, Stephens said all the doctors agree Mathews does not have a mental illness and were split on his ability to understanding the legal proceedings against him, therefore the judge looked to observations of the the defendant through video and telephone calls.

‘The court agrees the defendant is much more intelligent than two IQ test scores would indicate,” Stephens wrote. “Defendant demonstrated a savvy and level of competence in appreciating his current legal situation, as well as his ability to analyze his options, that indicate that he does understand the legal process.”

One doctor opined Mathews was underperforming intentionally on the IQ test and was malingering based on observations of videos and telephones calls.

The judge said in the opinion Mathews “attempts to play dumb” when a Hamilton detective read Miranda rights to him and “attempted tor ride the wave” through the three evaluations.

Mathews was arrested two days after the shooting and is being held in lieu of $1 million bond.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Miller, 34, of Hamilton, died at a hospital following the shooting in the 1100 block of Dayton Street about 2:40 a.m.

The shooting happened behind the bar where Miller had been a patron, according to his family. He was “found unconscious in his vehicle with two gunshot wounds,” according to the police report.

Miller was shot twice in the chest, but he may not have been in the car when he was shot — a full round was found in front of a car tire, according to police and dispatch records.

When arrested, Mathews was in possession of a loaded 9-millimeter handgun in the pocket of a sweatshirt jacket, according to police and court records.

Miller attended Hamilton High School and was raised by his grandmother, so he also spent several years in Kentucky, she said.

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