‘I just want to say I am sorry’: Teen speaks to victim’s family before sentencing in Middletown homicide

A 16-year-old boy has admitted guilt for his part of the shooting death of a Middletown man in October, and he will be incarcerated until his 21st birthday.

Butler County prosecutors previously requested the teen’s case be transferred to adult court, but in exchange for the true plea to murder in December, it remained in juvenile court. The charges of burglary and robbery against the teen, who was 15 at the time of the shooting death, were dismissed.

The teen is one of three people charged in the death of Michael Stewart II on Oct. 12 at his Ninth Avenue residence. Cameron Kyles, 18, is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, felonious assault and having weapons under disability and is awaiting trial.

Camron Pawlowski, 17, was charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, felonious assault and having weapons under disability.

In February, Pawlowski, who is being tried at an adult, pleaded guilty to reduced charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated burglary and having weapons under disability. The plea also included a gun specification that adds a year to the sentence and a specification that he was participating in a gang, which could add an additional three years to the sentence. He as not yet been sentenced.

According to Middletown police and facts of the case read in court, the 16-year-old conspired with others to steal marijuana and money from Stewart.

The juvenile and others went to the Stewart residence with a loaded gun and “(the 16-year-old) went into 812 Ninth Ave. to see if Michael Stewart was inside his house alone,” according to the complaint.

After leaving, the teen met with another suspect and gave him the “OK,” according to the complaint.

Defense attorney Billy Guinigundo said the teen prior record was just a minor infraction.

“That’s part of the difficult associated with case, it was never his intention that things worked out the way then did, but unfortunately the nature of the bad decisions made by all of those involve, one thing goes bad and there is a tragedy on so many levels,” Guinigundo said.

The teen asked Visiting Judge Thomas Lipps if he could stand, and he turned to Stewart’s family members and apologized.

“I just want to say I am sorry to the victim’s family,” the teen said.

The teen’s grandmother, who has had custody of the boy since age 2, also addressed the Stewart family. They are related.

“We are truly, truly sorry for everything that happened …. (he) just got caught up with the wrong kids,” she said. “And they made him follow them. He was a follower in behind everybody else, but he didn’t mean for any of this to happen, I know that because he regrets every bit of what happened.”

Lipps ordered the teen to be housed at the Ohio Department of Youth Services until his 21st birthday.

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