Repeat Offender Out on Bond Thanks to Republican Judge Shoots, Kills Expectant White Father at Local Walmart, Pleas Insanity

Fairfield Township, OH – A White shopper at an area Walmart was shot dead as he tried to stop a robbery in progress, and thanks to a Republican Common Pleas Court Judge, the alleged shooter was already out on bond for an entirely different violent crime.

In May, Anthony Freeman Brown, 32, was caught allegedly stealing cell phones from the electronics section of a local Walmart when a concerned citizen attempted to stop him. According to police reports, Brown was able to pull away and run to the front of the store, where he was once again confronted by good Samaritans.

That’s when Brown apparently pulled a handgun and fired, striking 32-year-old Adam Lee Black in the head and instantly killing him. The gunshot also seriously wounded a nearby Walmart employee, who was later transported to UC West Chester for treatment. During the chaos, however, Brown was able to flee the scene.

In a chilling testimony recalled by witnesses to the alleged murder, the victim was said to be seen lying face down in a pool of his own blood.

Adam Lee Black worked as a security guard for the firm Securitas, but he was off duty at the time of the shooting. He was a father-to-be, leaving behind a pregnant fiance. A GoFundMe has been set up by close friends to raise money for funeral expenses.

Adam Lee Black pictured with Shirley Damron, Mother. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

“I want to be assured that this man Anthony Brown will never forget my son…You took my sons life. I hope he will never be allowed to walk the street again.”

Shirley Damron, victim’s mother

Law enforcement then acted quickly, triangulating Brown’s position by accessing pings made off of his personal cell phone and locating him at a Fairfield Inn hotel located off Interstate 75. A SWAT team was assembled and entered the building to find and subdue the suspect. However, Brown continued to flee, jumping out from a first-floor window with a gun in hand and running toward the police. Brown surrendered shortly after, and the scene was cleared around 4:40 am.

Fairfield Township PD Cruiser. Photo Courtesy of Springfield News-Sun

Capt. Doug Lanier of Fairfield Township Police was quick to remind the public not to intervene when they see an act of shoplifting unfold before them. “We can all appreciate a Good Samaritan who is wanting to jump in and help…” Said Lanier. “This is a situation where you’re talking about property, and it’s just not worth it to intervene when you’re talking about property.”

According to records, Brown was booked into the Butler County Jail and now faces charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, and having weapons under disability. Hamilton County Area II Court Judge Kevin McDonough originally set Brown’s bond at $5 million, but in a disgraceful move, this number was reduced after Brown’s attorney, Clyde Bennett III, argued that the figure was “unconstitutional.”

Clyde Bennett and Anthony Brown. Photo courtesy of Journal-News Butler

According to a ruling made in January by Ohio’s Supreme Court, when setting bonds, judges should focus on a defendant’s financial situation and their ability to pay when setting bond amounts. Brown’s attorneywho is also Blackargued that the $5 million dollar bond was excessive in this case and, due to Brown’s financial situation, would never be able to pay it off. The court appeared to agree with the defense, and as a result, Brown’s bond has since been reduced twice, once to a lower, but still monumental, $1.2 million, and once again, to $900,000.

Since his arrest, Bennett has contested that Brown is actually incompetent to stand trial. But a judge ruled against the motion after an evaluation determined that Brown was indeed competent enough to face his accuser. In response, Brown’s lawyer has now pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and the court will now have to rule separately on the status of Brown’s mental state at a hearing in late October.

“He could not assist me with my defense. He did not appear to be lucid. He did not appear mentally normal. Therefore his competency is an issue…When I sat with him after the Walmart incident he could not assist in his defense. If you can’t tell me what happened and you don’t know what happened and this is all a mystery and a fog to you, well hell, how do I know you knew what happened when it happened?”

Clyde Bennett III, Attorney for Anthony Brown

“Not guilty by reason of insanity is a different issue. That is the issue of whether or not you knew the wrongfulness of your conduct at the time that you committed this offense. So, to make that determination, you have to restore the person’s competency first so that they’re even able to discuss what happened,” Bennett said.

Anthony Freeman Brown, older mugshot courtesy of Fairfield Police Department

However, according to a report by Fox19, Brown should never have been walking free in the first place. At the time of the Walmart shooting, Brown was already out on $200,000 bond for an unrelated armed robbery offense. He was indicted on an aggravated robbery charge on December 8th, 2021, for allegedly holding up a convenience store with a handgun and swiping scratch-off tickets and petty cash from the register.

For the stick-up, a Common Pleas Court judge placed him on house arrest pending trial. Despite being placed on house arrest, the court ordered that Brown wasn’t required to wear an electronic monitoring device.

According to Butler County Prosecutor Micheal Gmoser, a GPS tracker wasn’t ordered in this case because Brown was “a local” and did not have “much in his past” to warrant a GPS device.

The Justice Report contacted the Butler County Prosecutor’s office and spoke with Mr. Gmoser for further details. When asked who is ultimately responsible for ordering GPS monitoring on a suspect who is placed in a house arrest scenario, he replied, “It’s always the judge.”

Butler County Prosecutor Michael T. Gmoser, photo courtesy of Cara Owsley/Cincinnati Inquirer

“Maybe a recommendation one way or the other from a prosecutor, defense attorney, and perhaps a concurring opinion or some objection from the probation department who share some oversight with the Sheriff’s department regarding monitoring GPS issues. It certainly wasn’t my decision.”

When asked if incidents like these were common in his line of work or if he had experienced many cases where a Judge failed to assign proper monitoring services to a violent suspect, he replied, “Well, it’s always on a case-by-case basis.

But without a GPS tracker, Brown was essentially free to roam the streets without any accountability, and many are now wondering if the seemingly poor judicial decision made by a Judge at the Butler County court may have led directly to the sinister gunshot murder of White, expectant father, Alan Lee Black.

Anthony Freeman Brown’s 2021 aggravated robbery case overseen by Judge McElfrish

So, who was the Judge who failed to order GPS monitoring? By combing through court records linked to Anthony Brown’s 2021 aggravated robbery case, the Justice Report discovered it was the honorable Judge Jennifer Muench-McElfresh.

Once hailed as “smart and reserved” for her 14 years of service in the Butler County prosecutor’s office, McElfresh is a lifelong conservative politician first appointed by the Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, in 2013. Since then, she has been reelected under the Republican ticket numerous times, dominating a minor but often overlooked seat in Ohio’s criminal justice system.

Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Jennifer Muench-McElfresh. center. Photo courtesy Facebook

According to the 2010 United States Census report, Butler County has a supermajority White population, clocking in at a whopping 86.0% White and only 7.3% Black. Since 1952, the county has remained a Republican stronghold, crossing partisan lines only once in 1964 with the election of Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson for President.

But if Butler County is so deeply White and traditionally red, then why would a conservative judge rule against the law-and-order sensibilities of her constituents and allow a violent Black suspect to serve his term of house arrest without any effective supervision?

What good is a decorated prosecutorial career if the end results of all that experience are dead White men and more Black unaccountability?

Adam Lee Black, the latest casualty of Black violence. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

The apparently reckless move by Judge McElfrish shouldn’t come as a surprise. Republican judges occupying space in the lower courts have often ruled in favor of violent Black criminals over their White working-class constituents—sometimes with disastrous results.

On August 4th, Republican Judge Tammy O’Brienanother John Kasich appointeewas responsible for lowering the bond amounts of Deshawn Stafford Jr., Tyler Stafford, and Donovon Jones, the three alleged adult killers of White teenager Ethan Liming. Due to her decision, the three Black men—some with prior convictions—now walk free in the city of Akron, Ohio, pending trial.

Despite the many injustices that have been suffered thus far in this outrageous case, the story has largely remained buried and exists only in the realm of local affiliate news. It has garnered close to zero interest from mainstream media outlets, and almost no attention has been paid to the grieving family of Adam Lee Black.

The Justice Report’s coverage of the shooting death of Adam Lee Black is ongoing and will continue to report as new details become available.

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