Middletown man faces trial on gang charges tied to 2 homicides

A summer trial date has been set for one of three men charged in connection with gang activity that allegedly led to two Middletown homicides.

Charles Ray Graham, 27, of 2002 Pearl St., is charged with attempted burglary and participating in a criminal gang. Two others who are charged with participating in a criminal gang also face aggravated homicide for the murders of Joseph Romano and Tiffany Hoskins in November.

Graham was back in court Monday and waived his right to a speedy trial. His trial now is scheduled to begin July 10.

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In February, Derrick Brown, 22, of 815 Crawford St., pleaded guilty to burglary, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and aggravated murder for the death of Joseph Romano at his Lafayette Avenue home in November. He entered a guilty plea to participating in a criminal gang.

Brown faces up to life in prison for the murder of Romano, with an additional 35 years behind bars for the other charges. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday.

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The third co-defendant, Douglas Best, 28, of Richmond St., is charged with aggravated murder with gun specifications, for the deaths of Romano and Tiffany Hoskins a day later at a Jacoby Avenue residence. He is also facing a conspiracy to commit murder charge for allegedly conspiring to kill Douglas Hobbs, who was living in Romano’s residence, and aggravated arson, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse for allegedly bleaching Hoskins’ body and then lighting it on fire. He additionally is charged with participating in a criminal gang.

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Best is also scheduled to be in court Monday for a pre-trial hearing.

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