New murder and gang charges filed against teen in fatal Middletown shooting

New charges have been filed in Butler County Juvenile Court against a Middletown teen accused in a December shooting death.

The 17-year-old was charged with complicity to aggravated murder and participating in a criminal gang for the Dec. 14 murder of Benny Barefield while he sat in his car at Ninth Avenue and Yankee Road was in Butler County Juvenile Court on Monday.

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A hearing was set for this morning by Judge Ronald Craft to consider sending the case to adult court for trial, at the request of prosecutors, but because of the new charges the hearing has been rescheduled.

Last week, prosecutors charged the teen with aggravated murder with a gun specification and participating in a criminal gang, according to court documents.

Due to the teen’s age and seriousness of the charge, it is a mandatory bind over to adult court if the judge finds probable cause. The probable cause hearing is now scheduled for Feb. 28.

Craft ordered the teen, who will be 18 in September, to remain in the county juvenile detention center until the next court hearing.

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The teen and three men — Quanterius Keith, Dwight Bailey II and Daniel Fitzgerald, all 21 — are accused of conspiring to kill the 48-year-old father of 10 children. Police say Keith, who is charged with aggravated murder, pulled the trigger.

Middletown police say the four are either a part of the Road Runner gang or conspired with gang members in the killing and that the incident is part of a string of crimes in the city.

The teen has a criminal record with ties to drugs and gangs in juvenile court dating back to 2016, according to court records provided by Court Administrator Rob Clevenger.

Keith’s and Bailey’s cases are now waiting to be considered by a Butler County grand jury. Middletown police are still looking for Fitzgerald.

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