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Hamilton bar with history of homicide, drug trafficking torn down

A Hamilton bar with a dangerous past is no more.

Hard Times at 25 S. 7th St., was demolished over the past week. All that remained behind a safety fence Sunday was wreckage from the infamous watering hole, which was the site of a 2016 homicide and drug trafficking.

MORE: 6 problem bars that officials have shut down in Middletown and Hamilton

The bar, which previously has been known as Whistle Stop Inn and Bill’s Firehouse, is where Robert Goens, 23, of Hudson Avenue, was shot in the chest Jan. 15, 2016, dying from his injuries hours later in the hospital. 

A second man was injured in the shooting.

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The city of Hamilton is listed as the property’s owner as of March 8, according to the Butler County Auditor’s Office.

Hard Times at 25 S. 7th St., has been demolished.  (ERIC SCHWARTZBERG/STAFF)

In April 2017, this news outlet reported that police found that in the prior 15 months, “there has been a homicide in the bar’s parking lot; drug trafficking in, and originating from, the bar by a member of its staff; felonious assaults resulting in gunshot wounds; and multiple instances where officers perceived the smell of burnt marijuana in the bar and observed alcohol being served after permit hours,” according to a report from Heather Sanderson Lewis, the city’s law director.

MORE: If owners don’t comply, troubled bars need to close, police say

In addition, the report said that firefighters have “indicated that this establishment does not possess a certificate of occupancy which states the occupancy load of the establishment,” she said.

MORE: Judge gives maximum sentence in deadly Hamilton bar shooting

Charles Deonte McDonald, 25, of Hamilton, pleaded guilty to the fatal 2016 shooting at the bar.

McDonald, who had only been out of prison three months before he shot and killed Goens, was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison.

Staff Writer Mike Rutledge contributed to this report

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