Grand jury to consider case of men charged in fatal Middletown shooting during alleged burglary attempt

A grand jury will consider the case of two men charged with murder and other felonies after an alleged burglary attempt last week.

Middletown police were called at 12:02 a.m. on Aug 20 to Atrium Medical Center on a report of a man suffering from a gunshot wound. The man, 25-year-old Joshua Oatneal, died at the hospital.

Police say three people — Joshua Oatneal, his brother Jonathan Oatneal Jr., 23, and Andrew Roberts, 22 — went to a residence in the 2600 block of Aspen Drive to commit a burglary.

During the burglary, the homeowner shot Joshua Oatneal, officials said. The other two men took him to the hospital and left. They were spotted a short time later in the city, and both are charged with two counts of murder and two counts of aggravated burglary.

Jonathan Oatneal and Roberts were in Middletown Municipal Court on Friday for a preliminary hearing. Judge James Sherron found sufficient evidence to bind the case over to a Butler County grand jury for consideration. Bond for each is set at $750,000.

According to court documents, the trio drove to the residence in Riverside Mobile Home Park to commit the burglary and robbery. Roberts told police he handed a gun to Joshua Oatneal, and all three ran up to the residence.

There were two men outside, and Roberts said they told them to get inside and attempted to steal money from James Invey, according to the complaint signed by Detective Steve Winters.

“Roberts advised once inside the residence James Invey started shooting at Josh Oatneal. Roberts advised Josh Oatneal returned fire shooting at victim James Invey,” according to the complaint.

Invey told police Josh Oatneal tried to shoot him, and he was able to arm himself then shot Josh Oatneal in the chest.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the surviving men in the alleged burglary are charged with murder because they are complicit in the criminal activity that led Joshua Oatneal’s death.

“Because they are complicit in the offense that gives rise to the shooting, even if it wasn’t a shooting by one of the criminals, it is a shooting by the homeowner for the right reason in self defense, they are accomplices and aiders and abettors,” Gmoser said.

About the Author