A Middletown man could face the death penalty after a jury convicted him Friday
of brutally murdering an elderly man with a hatchet.
The jury in Victor Gantt’s case heard closing arguments this morning and were
ordered into deliberations by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth
shortly after 11 a.m.
They emerged less than 3 hours later with guilty verdicts for all charges
leveled against the 26-year-old who had been accused of aggravated murder,
aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence.
Gantt is scheduled to be sentenced next week.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser declined to comment on the case due to
the pending sentencing.
Gantt killed 75-year-old Leroy Jones of Middletown at his Brentwood Street home
on May 2. Middletown police have said that Gantt knocked on the doors of a
couple of Jones' neighbors around 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. that day asking to use the
restroom. They didn't let him in.
Jones' wife, who was away overnight when her husband died, found his body on
the afternoon of May 2. He had died from hatchet wounds to the head.
Jones’ family also declined to comment today, saying they may during the
upcoming sentencing hearing.
Gantt has a history of drug and theft offenses since 2005 in Middletown and was
sent to prison for 11 months in 2007 for felony unauthorized use of a vehicle
and leaving the scene of an accident.
At the time he murdered Jones, Gantt was under indictment for failing to pay
child support and had been released on his promise to return to court for
Earlier this week Gmoser told the court Gantt went looking for money on May 2
because he was due in court three days later for failing to pay child support.
Dennis Adams, 1 of 2 court-appointed attorneys representing Gantt, had said his
client admits killing Jones, but he didn't try to conceal what he had done.
Gantt had been homeless for weeks leading up to the murder and was high on
narcotics, he said.