High school student pleads guilty in Fairfield Twp. parking lot shooting

A teen boy has pleaded guilty to shooting another teen in the parking lot of a Fairfield Twp. store.

John Robbins, now 17, entered the guilty plea to felonious assault Thursday in Butler County Common Pleas Court for a Jan. 20 incident in the Walmart parking lot on Princeton Road.

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Robbins, a Colerain High School student, was arrested by Fairfield Twp. police three days after the incident. A charge of aggravated robbery was dismissed by prosecutors. Police accused Robbins of robbing a 17-year-old and shooting him in the middle of a drug deal in the store parking lot.

Sentencing has been set by Judge Jennifer McElfresh for Sept. 20. Robbins faces up to eight years for felonious assault and an additional three years for using a gun in the commission of the crime.

The case was moved to adult court in March by county Juvenile Court Judge Ronald Craft after he found probable cause for the charges. Because of Robbins’ age and the seriousness of the aggravated robbery charge, it was a mandatory bind over to adult court.

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But because that aggravated robbery charge has now been dismissed, the case will be returned to juvenile court where Craft will decide if it should remain there or if Robbins will serve his adult sentence.

“We expect with good reason that it will stay in juvenile court,” defense attorney Eric Eckes said, adding that there has been an outpouring of support for Robbins.

“It was a mistake made by a juvenile whose brain was not fully developed,” he said.

The mandatory sentence in juvenile court would be two years in the Ohio Department of Youth Services, according to Eckes.

The 17-year-old was shot around 3 p.m. Jan. 20 while he was in the driver’s side of a car in the Walmart parking lot. The shot teen accelerated his vehicle and struck other vehicles and a shopping cart corral, according to police. He was treated and released from West Chester Hospital.

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