Murder suspect competent to stand trial


The Washington C.H. man accused of the March 9 premeditated aggravated murder of his ex-girlfriend has been found competent to stand trial.

The trial for Joseph A. Brown, 21, is scheduled to go forward on Sept. 17 in Fayette County Common Pleas Court.

Brown has plead “not guilty” and “not guilty by reason of insanity” to the charges against him. Results of two psychological evaluations found Brown to be sane and competent, and both the defense and the prosecution have now stipulated that Brown has been found competent, according to Fayette County Prosecutor Jess Weade.

According to Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, just after 6 p.m. March 9, his office received a call indicating that a man had shot a female at the rear of the apartment buildings on Joanne Drive in Washington C.H. The initial call reported that the assailant was still in possession of the firearm and remained in the area.

When deputies arrived they encountered a man exiting the front of an apartment in building 16 and learned that he was the alleged shooter. Brown was detained by deputies, Stanforth said.

As additional deputies and detectives from the sheriff’s office arrived, the victim, identified as Lilliana M. Null, 20, of Cincinnati, was found in the rear yard behind building 15, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

Null was pronounced dead at the scene by the Fayette County Coroner’s Office. Null’s boyfriend, who was a witness to the shooting, and an infant child of Brown and Null were unharmed in the incident.

Brown is charged with premeditated aggravated murder and first-degree felony attempted murder. He is charged with attempted murder because he allegedly threatened to kill the boyfriend during the incident, according to authorities.

According to Stanforth, information in the investigation indicates that Brown and Null had recently separated and that Null was bringing their infant child to the residence for visitation.

“It’s our understanding that the situation began to deteriorate inside the apartment,” said Stanforth. “She apparently ran out of the front of the apartment into the back yard and that is when he shot her multiple times.”

Custody of the child has been relinquished to Fayette County Children Services for further disposition.

“It is our belief that (Brown) enticed her to the apartment with the intent to kill,” said Stanforth.

Brown is being held in the Fayette County Jail on a $2 million bond.

Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.


By Ryan Carter

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