Death penalty trial for Hamilton drive-by shooting pushed back again

The death penalty trial of a Hamilton man charged with a 2016 drive-by shooting that killed two men was scheduled to begin in February, but has been continued again.

Michael Grevious II, 24, of Maple Avenue, is one of four who was facing the death penalty if convicted in the murder-for-hire shooting that happened after a fatal shootout at the former Doubles Bar on the city’s west side.

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Just days before trial in September, Grevious’ attorney David Washington requested a continuance because an expert had not completed work in the case. Butler County County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens granted the continuance and rescheduled the trial for Feb. 26.

On Friday, Washington and Grevious again appeared before Stephens because a problem with scheduling an expert continued.

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While Stephens said he was not in favor of continuing the trial again, he wanted to assure nothing occurred to get the case overturned for a retrial in the future.

The new trial date for Grevious is April 16.

“I am taking it as a guarantee the mitigation expert will be available,” Stephens told the defense team.

July marked the one-year anniversary of the shootout at Doubles Bar that killed one person and wounded seven others. The shooting sparked retaliation violence on the afternoon of Aug. 3, 2016, that killed two people.

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According to prosecutors, Grevious, one of the men allegedly involved in the Doubles shootout, hired Zachary Harris to kill Orlando Gilbert for $5,000.

Then on the afternoon of Aug. 3, 2016, a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Melinda Gibby pulled up next to a black Ford Mustang occupied by Gilbert and Todd Berus. Tony Patete, the front seat passenger of the truck, opened fire with an AK-47 multiple times, killing Gilbert and Berus, according to court documents.

Grevious is charged with aggravated murder and felonious assault for the Doubles shootout.

In August, Gibby, 35, of Lancaster, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated murder. The defense and prosecutors agreed to a sentence of 30 years to life for Gibby, but her sentencing is not scheduled until February 2018. She avoided the possibility of a death sentence if convicted in a jury trial.

Last month, Zachary Harris, 25, of Columbus, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated murder in the retaliation shooting and received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said Gibby will not be sentenced until after her cooperation in the trials of the others.

Patete, 23, of Newark, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder. He is scheduled to stand trial on Dec. 4.

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