Oct. 28—A second teen has been sent to prison for a robbery attempt that turned deadly last winter in Middletown.
Timathy Rhodus, 17 at the time of the Jan. 31 incident, was indicted in April for murder, two counts of aggravated robbery, four counts of felonious assault and for improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation where a woman was killed at a Wilbraham Road residence.
Last month Rhodus, who was tried as an adult, pleaded guilty to murder with a one-year gun specification in Butler County Common Pleas Court. The remaining charges were dismissed.
On Tuesday, Judge Dan Haughey sentenced Rhodus to life in prison with possibility of parole after 16 years. Two other teens were indicted on the same charges in the incident, but prosecutors say Rhodus was handling the gun and shot the woman who was visiting a family member at the residence.
Co-defendant Karlos Philpot, 18 , pleaded guilty to murder in Judge Greg Stephens' courtroom three hours before his trial was scheduled to begin Oct. 18. The plea carried a mandatory sentence and Stephens then imposed that sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole in 15 years.
Angela Combs, 41, was shot about 9 p.m. in an apartment in the 3100 block of Wilbraham Road by armed suspects who came to the door apparently looking for payment of a debt, according to court documents. Combs was taken to Atrium Medical Center, where she died.
Before sentencing, Rhodus offered an apology to Combs' family that crowded into the courtroom.
"I am sorry to the victim and her family," he said quietly.
Attorney Charles Conliff told the judge Rhodus cooperated with police during the investigation and didn't fight the charges. The attorney said his young client understands "he is going to have the rest of his life to think about this."
According to court documents, Rhodus said he went to the residence armed with the two others to "get $60 that was owed to him for marijuana."
The person who opened the door attempted to shut it and caught the arm of one of the 17-year-olds in the door, it said.
After the door hit the teen's arm, Rhodus stated he started pulling the trigger because it upset him, according to Middletown detectives.
Bailey Sisco, Combs' daughter, placed a container of her mother's ashes on the podium as she addressed the judge and Rhodus.
She talked of her grief in losing her mother because of bad choices. But she also told Rhodus the tragedy has made her a stronger woman.
"I thank you for that," Sisco said to Rhodus.
Combs' sister, Talisha, said "you took away something that I will never have back in a lifetime."
But Talisha Combs also offered forgiveness, noting Rhodus' mother is also losing a son.
As Rhodus left the courtroom, Combs' family yelled to him, "Get educated, man. Get your GED."
Combs was struck by gunfire as she walked down the steps and there were children in the house, according to prosecutors.
Third co-defendant Eliot Shepherd II, 17 at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty in May in common pleas court to involuntary manslaughter with a gun specification. He faces a maximum of 12 years in prison. He is scheduled back in court Nov. 30.
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