Murdered Middletown man honored on 50th birthday

Relatives celebrate Benny Barefield's 50th birthday after 2018 murder

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Friends and family of Benny Barefield gathered in Middletown to honor his memory and keep his legacy alive after his 2018 murder.

Barefield’s relatives say he should have been celebrating his 50th birthday Tuesday. Instead, they were left to do it for him.

According to those who knew him, Barefield was well known throughout the Middletown community. His family members say he devoted much of his life to lifting others up.

“Even the funeral home director, he said Benny came over, and he knew that there was certain individuals that didn’t have enough money to bury loved ones. He would drop money, but then say, ‘Don’t tell my name,‘” Kimberly Silas-Breedlove, Barefield’s aunt, said.

The father-of-ten died in December 2018. Middletown police say he was fatally shot while driving his car near 9th Avenue and Yankee Road in Middletown.

“He’s our angel,” Jodia Barefield, his sister, said. “I don’t want him to think we gave up, because we’re still fighting. I’m never gonna give up, I’m never... As long as I breathe, I will never give up fighting for justice for my brother.”

Police have repeatedly identified four suspects in the case: Quanterius Keith, Dwight Bailey III, Daniel Fitzgerald and an unnamed teenager. Each of them, per investigators, has connections to a local gang.

However, some of the accused are currently walking free because, in March 2019, a grand jury did not indict them.

“We live in a town where you see the killers walk free,” Jodia said. “You see family members walk right past you in the grocery store, and it’s just hurtful. It’s sad.”

Barefield’s sisters are still struggling to wrap their heads around why their brother was killed. They remain hopeful that one day, someone out there will do the right thing.

“I want my brother to have justice,” Jodia said. “I want his kids to know their daddy got justice.”

Jail records show Fitzgerald and Keith are both currently in the Butler County Jail on unrelated charges.

Middletown police are asking anyone with information to come forward to help them close this case.

Copyright 2020 WXIX. All rights reserved.