Police seeking last bit of evidence in Middletown murder case believed to be gang-related

A grand jury did not indict four people accused of killing Benny Barefield

Police, family pleading for information to help convict murder suspects

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Nearly a year after charges against four Middletown murder suspects were dropped, three of the men accused of killing Benny Barefield are still walking free.

Now police are asking for information in the case.

Meanwhile, Barefield’s family say they are still waiting for the people who killed him to pay for what they did.

“It’s like every day is a reminder, like for us, we can’t move on," Jodia Barefield, one of Benny’s sisters, said. “I pray every night that something happens, someone comes forward and tells the truth.”

Barefield, a father of ten, died in December 2018 at the age of 48. Police say he was shot while driving his car near Ninth Ave. and Yankee Rd. in Middletown.

Police named four prime suspects early on: Quanterius Keith, Dwight Bailey III, Daniel Fitzgerald and an unnamed 17-year-old. Investigators connected all of them to a local gang.

But in March 2019, a grand jury chose not to indict them, meaning the charges were dropped and the accused walked free.

“You can’t use co-defendant’s testimony to get a conviction on the other person, so we had charged everybody involved, and nobody was going to take a deal on getting their charges dropped to get the person who everyone had said had pulled the trigger," Maj. Walter Scott Reeve with Middletown Police explained.

Since then, some of the suspects have been charged in other crimes. Bailey III is currently in the Butler County Jail.

However, police say they need more information to close the case — perhaps a witness who heard one of the alleged killers confess.

“It’s not really a whodunit. We know whodunit," Reeve said. "We just have to be able to get enough evidence to prove whodunit.”

Investigators believe the four suspects have a feud with another group of people. They say that ongoing fight led to the death of both Barefield and Teresa Shields.

Shields, a Middletown woman, has been described by police as an innocent bystander who was shot in a car in January 2017.

“'Till they get their justice and get what’s coming to them, they’re not going to change," Jodia said.

“There’s always the fear that this feud is going to re-erupt," Reeve added.

For now, Barefield’s siblings are trying to heal, which is something they say will not be complete until justice is served.

“I forgive them. I just pray for them," Jodia said. "Karma’s going to come back, so I just hope they come forward.”

Investigators will not reveal how close they are to closing the case, but did say that one seemingly small tidbit of information could be all it takes to solve it.

Anyone with information is on Benny Barefield’s unsolved murder or Teresa Shields’ unsolved murder is urged to call Middletown Police at 513-425-7700.

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