Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Adult charges sought in attack



By Janice Morse
Enquirer staff writer

FAIRFIELD - Prosecutors say they will attempt to try a Springfield Township teen as an adult on a murder charge in the beating death of Brandon Mitchell, 17.

Assistant Prosecutor Greg Stephens on Monday said the seriousness of the offense persuaded him to ask a judge to send the case of the 16-year-old suspect to adult court on a murder charge.

Stephens noted this is the third homicide case in which a juvenile suspect has been charged in Butler County Juvenile Court in a little over a year. "That's probably an unprecedented number of these cases in that kind of time frame," said Stephens, who has been prosecuting juveniles for six years.

Brandon was pronounced dead Friday evening at University Hospital. He had initially been treated at Mercy Hospital Fairfield.

On Monday, Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Carl Parrott Jr. said he would rule the death a homicide. The teen suffered bleeding around the brain as a result of blunt impacts to the head and neck, Parrott said.

A magistrate on Monday ordered the suspect to remain in the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center awaiting a hearing on Thursday. He is charged with murder.

Brandon's stepfather, Jamie Hilliard, said Brandon's attacker was a stranger to him. Hilliard takes issue with some descriptions of the Friday night incident on Danube Drive.

"It was not a street fight. It was an attack," he said.

Brandon's injuries were so severe closed-casket services will be necessary, Hilliard said.

Brandon and a pair of friends had walked to a store and were on their way back home when one of his friends called another one an unflattering name - jokingly.

But another group of youths passing by heard the remark, and believed it had been directed at them, Hilliard said. The passersby also mistakenly believed that Brandon had made the remark, he said.

Brandon would have been a junior at Fairfield High School.

Visitation is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Avance Funeral Home, Winton Road, Fairfield, followed by funeral services.

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E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com



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