Middletown teen charged with murder appears in court

Judge will decide later this month if 16-year-old’s case will be moved to adult court.

The Middletown 16-year-old charged with murder and participating in a criminal gang walked into Butler County Juvenile Court this morning wearing shackles as his mother cried in the back of the courtroom.

The teen is charged in the fatal shooting of Joseph Davis, 17, of Middletown, who was killed after suffering multiple gunshot wounds late Tuesday night at Woodlawn Avenue and Garfield Street in Middletown, according to police.

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The teen quietly answered questions from Magistrate Greg Hatcher during his arraignment.

Hatcher told the teen his probable cause hearing has been set for June 29 before Judge Kathleen Romans. If she finds probable cause that the teen committed Tuesday’s shooting, the case will automatically be moved to adult court, according to Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser.

That’s because of the age of the suspect and the level of the crime, he said.

Hatcher ordered the teen to have no contact with the victim’s family. After the hearing, he was led back to the Juvenile Detention Center as his mother said she loved him.

The teen’s mother refused to comment after the hearing.

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The teen suspect has been charged by Middletown police three times since 2015, according to juvenile court records.

In May 2015, the boy was charged with assault and placed on probation by juvenile court.

He violated the order of the court in February 2016 and his probation was continued.

In August 2016, the teen was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, resisting arrest and obstructing official business. He was placed on house arrest, ordered to serve 24 hours of community service and was placed on intensive probation. A psychological evaluation was ordered as well as a letter of apology, and the gun was destroyed.

A sentence of six months in the Ohio Department of Youth Services was suspended and a sentence of 30 days in the juvenile detention center was stayed in the 2016 incident.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Detective Kristi Hughes at 513-425-7733 or Detective Steve Winters at 513-425-7786.

This article contains previous reporting by staff writer Lauren Pack.

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