Middletown teen convicted of murder faces life in prison, officials react: ‘There is no reason to celebrate’

After the latest gang-related murder conviction in Butler County, a prosecutor and police chief both said the case underlines how tragic such incidents are in the communities.

Gonnii White, 17, was convicted of murder on Thursday in the shooting death of Joseph Davis, also 17, in May 2018. His conviction included specifications he used a firearm and was participating in a gang at the time of the shooting.

White faces a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 19 years.

After the verdict was read, Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Brad Burress praised the Middletown Police Department for its work on the case after the trial, but said there was another side to the case.

“There are no winners in a case like this,” he said. “A young gentleman lost his life and another young gentleman will serve the rest of his life in prison.”

Middletown police Chief Rodney Muterspaw posted a message to Facebook.

“While we are very happy justice has been served, there is no reason to celebrate. These types of crimes devastate multiple families on both sides. We take no joy in a prosecution like this. Neither family will ever be the same and this will always be out there.

“I’m very proud of our detectives who worked night and day on this but now they know they have to go work on other cases similar to this and try to get the same result,” Muterspaw wrote. “I’m also really proud of our patrol officers who were the first responders on this and did a great job in helping bring it to prosecution.

“But make no mistake, this is a sad day for a lot of people. We just all need to do better. Violence simply is not the answer to a disagreement and we really hope and pray this will change. Our community will be better for it.”

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