Camron Pawlowski, 17, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court to involuntary manslaughter and other felonies for the shooting death of Michael Stewart in Hamilton in October. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Tense moments in teen’s sentencing for Middletown fatal shooting as mother is charged after removal

Camron Pawlowski, who was tried as an adult, was charged with murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, felonious assault and having weapons under disability. The charges also carried a specification of participating in a criminal gang at the time of the offense.

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He is one of three people who was charged in the shooting death of Michael Stewart II, who was killed on Oct. 12 in his Ninth Avenue home.

Last month, Pawlowski pleaded guilty to reduced charges of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated burglary and having weapons under disability. The charges also carried a gang and gun specifications.

Prosecutors say Pawlowski conspired with the co-defendants in the crime. Judge Charles Pater sentenced Pawlowski to 15 years in prison. If he does not behave in prison, the, he can be incarcerated for another five and a half years.

Pawlowski stood silent at the podium and said “no sir” when asked if he wanted to say anything before sentencing. Tabitha Pawlowski, Camron’s mother, another teen and a woman were seated in the front row.

According to police and prosecutors, co-defendant Cameron Kyles, 18, is the shooter, and is facing murder, burglary and robbery charges. He is awaiting trial.

A 15-year-old boy, the third co-defendant, was indicted in December. The boy pleaded “true” to the charge of murder in Butler County Juvenile Court. His case stayed in juvenile court, and he was sentenced earlier this year to the Ohio Department of Youth Services until his 21st birthday.

MORE: Teen to be incarcerated until his 21st birthday for deadly Middletown shooting

Pawlowski and Kyles had been in juvenile detention together and were planning the robbery incident, investigators said. Pawlowski drove to Stewart’s residence and parked in the alley and the 15-year-old went inside to make sure Stewart’s friends were not with him, according to police and prosecutors.

Then Kyles was given a gun by Pawlowski and went into the house, and four shots were fired, investigators said. Surveillance video in the house captured the shooter wearing distinctive clothing and walking toward Stewart with a gun, then taking items from Stewart’s body and the house.

Defense attorney Jeremy Evans said the information in the case is from statements of two teens who were also allegedly involved in the crimes. He said if the case went to trial the prosecution’s theory of the case is “very different than ours.”

Evans said one of the people in the vehicle wanted to purchase marijuana and that is why they went to the residence. He said there are conflicting versions of who provided the gun, but everyone agrees Pawlowski was driving the car, found out Stewart had been shot after the fact and drove Kyles to his house, “everything else is speculation.”

Evans said “nobody deserves to die … what I would say is that the community has created four teenage young men who are in this system. One of those reasons is because we have individuals, adults in the community who are selling drugs to teenagers all hours of the day and night. They have access to weapons. They have access to drugs and this is the community they are growing up in.”

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Kraig Chadrick said if the defense had so many concerns about the witnesses the state had, “they shouldn’t have done this copout of, ‘Let’s get the best deal.’”

Chadwick said Pawlowski had been obsessing about robbing Stewart and on the night of the incident when he borrowed a car from his girlfriend, Pawlowski told her “I am going to go get some quick money.”

MORE: 17-year-old admits guilt in October fatal shooting

After the murder, the clothing that Kyles wore during the shooting was found in Pawlowski’s washing machine. Also at his apartment were the drugs stolen and money with Stewart’s blood on it, and “the murder weapon was hidden in the bushes behind this defendant’s apartment,” Chadwick said. When taken into custody, Pawlowski was also in possession of blood-stained money.

Tabitha Pawlowski spoke loudly from the front row and was told by the judge not to comment. Then she began filming with her cell phone, which is prohibited by everyone in all courtrooms.

“Turn it off, you are not allowed to use your phone to record” a court security deputy told her before taking it from her hand.

Tabitha Pawlowski screamed and said the deputy “about hit me in my in my face when you snatched it.”

Pater asked that she be removed from the courtroom. She was given the phone back and escorted out.

“Camron, I love you, son,” she yelled as deputies took her out.

Stewart’s father and another family member were also in court Michael Stewart Sr. said his son “was a good young man. He did not deserve this.”

Stewart left behind a young son who suffers from seizures.

“Mike was the only one who could comfort him,” a family member said.

Tabitha Pawlowski and a 15-yer-old boy with her were involved in an altercation in the main entrance to the court wing minutes after she was removed from the courtroom, according to Butler County Sheriff’s Lt. Morgan Dallman.

She was “being very loud and yelling” to a court security officer who had not been in the courtroom and was asked twice to quiet down by Deputy Mike Jacobs, who was in the courthouse for another case.

As Jacobs walked Tabitha Pawlowski out the door, the 15-year-old boy she was with was shoved by Jacobs, Dallman said. Hamilton police assisted with wrestling the teen to the ground. The teen was charged with assault and failure to comply. He was taken to the county juvenile detention center.

Tabitha Pawlowski was charged with disorderly conduct and failure to comply with a police officer. She was not charged with a crime for her conduct in court.

“What happened in court, she was free and clear if she had just left. Because obviously she was going through a time and we were just trying to get her out the door until (the teen) for whatever reason did what he did,” Dallman said.

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