Prosecutor: Homeowner not facing charges after shooting Middletown man attempting to rob him

Andrew Roberts (left) and Jonathon Oatneal Jr. are accused of attempting a burglary in Middletown that led to the death of a third man, Joshua Oatneal.
Andrew Roberts (left) and Jonathon Oatneal Jr. are accused of attempting a burglary in Middletown that led to the death of a third man, Joshua Oatneal.

A Middletown man is dead, and his brother and another man are charged with murder following an alleged burglary attempt Wednesday night.

Middletown police were called at 12:02 a.m. Thursday 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, Sgt. Earl Nelson said.

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Police say three people — Joshua Oatneal, his brother Jonathon 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. 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.

Andrew Roberts MIDDLETOWN DIVISION OF POLICE
Andrew Roberts MIDDLETOWN DIVISION OF POLICE

Jonathon Oatneal and Roberts were arraigned Friday in Middletown Municipal Court. where bond was set at $750,000 each. They are scheduled to be back in court Aug. 28 for a preliminary hearing.

According to court documents, the trio drove to the residence in Riverside Moble 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.

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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 Oatnealin 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.

The investigation is continuing. Gmoser said he case will likely be reviewed by a grand jury since it is a homicide committed in self-defense.

“The Castle Doctrine gives you the right to exercise self-defense with lethal force when you are in your home or in your automobile, and you are under attack, and you have to have a reasonable belief in that,” Gmoser said.

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