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Man declared competent for trial in Walmart shooting death

Police said Anthony Freeman Brown, 32, of Hamilton was trying to steal items from the Fairfield Township Walmart on May 26 when two shoppers moved to stop him.
Credit: Butler County Sheriff's Office

HAMILTON, Ohio — A man accused of shooting a customer to death in an Ohio Walmart store following an attempted theft has been ruled competent to stand trial.

Anthony Freeman Brown, 32, of Hamilton is charged in Butler County with aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery, felonious assault and having weapons under disability.

Police said a man tried to steal items from the Fairfield Township Walmart’s electronics department shortly before 8 p.m. on May 26. Police said two shoppers tried to stop him, and the suspect then pulled a gun and fired, killing one customer and seriously wounding an employee.

Adam Lee Black, 35, died at the scene, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office. The injured person was treated at a hospital and later released. Tracked to a Middletown hotel, Brown was arrested after jumping from a first-floor window, dropping a handgun, police said.

Defense attorney Clyde Bennett II is seeking the court's permission to argue that his client is not guilty by reason of insanity, and he also questioned his client's competency to assist in his own defense.

Prosecutors said a forensic psychological evaluation ordered in June concluded that he was competent for trial and ineligible for an insanity plea. The defense sought a second psychological evaluation, which was granted, and after it reached the same conclusion the judge declared Brown competent for trial last week.

Bennett also requested that his client be evaluated again for the insanity plea. and a hearing on that issue is scheduled Oct. 25. Brown also faces an aggravated robbery charge in a gunpoint robbery at a convenience store last fall.

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