Signs from the march on Saturday, April 6 at the memorial to Benny Barefield on the corner of Yankee Road and Ninth Avenue. Barefield was shot and killed in December 2018 while sitting in his care at the intersection. SUBMITTED

Murdered Middletown man’s family still seeking justice after charges against suspects dismissed

Four suspects were charged shortly after Barefield was shot in his car near the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Yankee Road. But last month, after a Butler County grand jury declined to indict three of them, charges were dismissed against all suspects.

Middletown police and prosecutors say the case is still under investigation.

MORE: After months in jail, 3 Middletown murder suspects went free this week Here’s how that happened

The family, many wearing red for Barefield, who was also known as “Red,” walked from the Sonny Hill Community Center on Lafayette Avenue to the intersection of Yankee Road and Ninth Avenue near where Barefield was shot in his car.

Marchers placed “We love you Benny” and “Justice4Red” signs at the memorial where Barefield was found.

Dia Arnold, Barfield’s sister, said police need witnesses to come forward.

“Someone has to do something,” she said. “We just want real justice for my brother. We don’t need retaliation.”

In addition to murder and complicity to murder charges, the suspects also faced gang charges in connection to the Barefield homicide.

MORE: UPDATE: Police confirm 3 in custody related to Middletown shooting death last month

“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 after the charges were dropped.

“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.”

Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.