Arrest warrant withdrawn for 4th suspect in homicide of well-known Middletown man

Benny Barefield.
Benny Barefield.

Charges against a fourth person accused in a December 2018 fatal shooting in Middletown have been dismissed.

A warrant for the arrest of Daniel Fitzgerald, 21, of Middletown, issued in January for complicity to aggravated murder and participating in a criminal gang, was withdrawn at the request of the city prosecutor on Wednesday afternoon.

Fitzgerald and three others were charged in the Dec. 14 shooting death of Benny Barefield while he sat in his car near the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Yankee Road.

Middletown police declined to say if Fitzgerald, who had not been located as of Tuesday, was found and informed of the warrant being withdrawn.

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The withdraw came on the same day a Butler County grand jury declined to indict the others charged in the Barefield homicide.

A 17-year-old, whose case was sent to adult court earlier this month for trial, was not indicted on charges of aggravated murder and participating in a criminal gang.

Quanteriaus Keith, 21, who was charged with aggravated murder, participating in a criminal gang, tampering with evidence and having weapons under disability, was not indicted on those charges.

Both the 17-year-old and Keith are free from jail.

Dwight Bailey III, 21, who was charged with complicity to aggravated murder as well as a probation violation and an aggravated robbery charge in an unrelated case, remains in jail on the last two charges, but he was not indicted on the complicity to aggravated murder charge.

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The teen, Spicer, Keith, Bailey II and Fitzgerald were accused of conspiring to kill the 48-year-old father of 10 children.

“The grand jury decided at this time in history there was insufficient evidence that rose to a level of at least probable cause with admissible evidence to proceed to a trial,” said Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser. “But that does not mean that the case is over. I would rather have this happen now, than acquittal on evidence that was insufficient to convict.”

He added police are continuing to investigate.

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