Trial dates set for capital murder cases in Hamilton shootings

Four people charged with capital murder in a Hamilton drive-by shooting that killed two people on Central Avenue this summer were back in a Butler County courtroom Tuesday.

Trial dates were set for all four in connection with the August shooting that killed Orlando Gilbert and Todd Berus.

The four people charged are:

Zachary Harris, 24, of Columbus, two counts of aggravated murder;

Tony Patete, 23, of Newark, two counts of aggravated murder;

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Melinda Gibby, 35, of Lancaster, two counts of aggravated murder, and

Michael Grevious II, 23, of Maple Ave., Hamilton, one count of aggravated murder.

After the July 24 shooting at Doubles Bar on Main Street, Grevious II recruited Harris to kill Orlando Gilbert for $5,000, according to court documents. Gilbert was wounded at the bar shooting that left Kalif Goens dead.

Harris appeared first today before Judge Greg Stephens, who set a trial date for Oct. 23. It is expected to last two weeks.

Gibby’s trial date was set for Aug. 22, and Patete is scheduled to go to trial on July 24. Grevious was the last of the four to appear before the judge. His trial was set for Sept. 25. All three trials are expected to last two weeks.

Harris and ex-convicts, Patete and Gibby, drove about 90 miles from Fairfield County, Ohio, to Butler County and spent several days driving around Hamilton in search of their target, investigators alleged.

Then on Aug. 3, a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Gibby pulled up next to a black Ford Mustang occupied by Gilbert and Berus.

Patete, the front seat passenger of the truck, opened fire with an AK-47 multiple times, killing Gilbert and Berus, according to court documents.

Prosecutors claim that Harris orchestrated the drive-by shooting from the back seat of the pickup truck.

Earlier this month trial dates were set for people accused in the Doubles shooting:

• Cornell McKennelly II, 37, of Franklin St., Hamilton, charged with murder. Trial date set for Jan. 31.

• Rodrick Curtis Jr., of North 7th Street, Hamilton, charged with felonious assault. Trial date set for Feb. 13.

• Mondale Goens, 21, of Maple Ave., Hamilton, charged with two counts of felonious assault. Trial date set for Feb. 13.

• Cory Cook II, 23, of 9th Street, Hamilton, charged with felonious assault. Trial date set for Feb. 13.

McKennelly II shot and killed Kalif Goens at about 2 a.m. July 24 near the Main Street bar, according to Butler County prosecutors.

During the same shootout, three other people shot and wounded members of the Gilbert family, according to court documents:

According to court documents outlining the charges, Curtis Jr. shot and wounded Tavaris Gilbert; Mondale Goens, Kalif’s brother, shot and wounded Katrina Price and Jariaus Gilbert, and Cook II shot and wounded Orlando Gilbert.

The defendants are associated with either the Goens or Gilbert families, who are “feuding factions in Butler County,” Assistant Prosecutor Brad Burress wrote in the court documents.

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