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Belpre mother’s 2011 convictions overturned

February 9, 2013

The criminal convictions of a Belpre mother whose 2-year-old daughter died in a 2010 fire have been overturned by an appeals cour....

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Feb-13-13 5:36 PM

people who have spent most of their lives in jail are no longer, technically a criminal. Will they finish their long sentences? It remains to be seen.

However, in this case, our area has a precedence of letting these things go. This case, another fire where one child perished, no charges that I've seen. A little girl dies in a car, under mysterious circumstances, no charges. On the few occasions when charges are brought up, they always seem to be dismissed. Parents SHOULD be held accountable for their children's welfare. Period. If your child died on your watch, it is your fault and yes I believe they should be held accountable for that death. Negligence is not homicide but it certainly is reprehensible and should carry a weightier sentence.

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Feb-13-13 5:32 PM

@wasajuror Thank you for speaking up. I was, as I am sure you were, completely disgusted and disappointed to hear of this case being overturned.

@ReasonableVoice I can't help but think you must personally know this judge or work for the system. Everything you say smacks of it. You can talk this judge up all you want, but he failed this little girl.

The case should never have been overturned. Yet that is what we get, with a court system that has and allows a plethora of appeals. There is no such thing as a speedy trial anymore. We pay for death row inmates to sit on their arses in wonderful living conditions for decades while these appeals are filed and fought, refiled and fought. It's disgusting.

Why should't there be harsh sentences!? Whyever not!? There is no precedence for harsh sentences in the MOV, other than getting sentenced to decades in prison over, as you stated, a joint. That is harsh. I wonder what kind of chaos will ensue when prohibition on pot ends and these

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Feb-12-13 5:46 PM

@Heir - I really don't care where you live, it's the same everywhere. Make as many petitions as you want. Our legal system does not do popularity contests.

I will agree with you that there's a rash of injustices in the Mid Ohio Valley. I'll even go further than you and state that it's not happening recently (enveloping means that it is still in process of starting), but that it's happened for a very long time.

However, in my opinion it is not that the injustices are being done by guilty people going free. If you want to know the historical side of our justice system's stance on guilty men going free versus innocent men being locked up, it is easy to use Google.

The injustice is that many innocent people are being locked up and that unfairly harsh punishments are being handed down. Heavy handed sentences are fairly famous in the MOV. I don't know how many times we've all heard that a murderer gets 5 years and a guy with a joint gets 15.

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Feb-12-13 5:41 PM

@wasajuror - Enthralling. However, a court that is superior in rank to the court you sat in at has said you made a mistake and that there was not enough evidence.

Keep in mind that the person that overturned your decision is a full time upholder of the law, whereas you were a on one jury with no education in the legal system.

Juries make mistakes. Juries make lots and lots of mistakes.

In this case, your stance that the decision you made must be upheld does not pass the test of bias due to you being the person making the statement and having been the person who made the decision. Your statement is logically flawed.

Logically flawed decisions are why this case's verdict was overturned. Being on a jury does not make you invincible and infallible.

This kind of keeps going in a circle. Some of you have real trouble understanding what our legal system does and does not do.

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Feb-12-13 3:50 PM

reasonable voice, you obviously are not that reasonable to have posted

"There wasn't overwhelming evidence. There was not enough to even have a trial, much less convict on, therefore she's been found not guilty due to lack of evidence. "

There WAS a trial, I was a juror at the trial and there WAS overwhelming evidence. That is why myself and 11 other REASONABLE people found her GUILTY of NEGLECTING her children! Get YOUR facts straight before you go off blathering.

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Feb-12-13 3:15 PM

I do not need to live across the river to have sympathy for this poor baby. I will not give up. There is a wave of injustice enveloping the Mid Ohio Valley in a large number of wrongful death and murder cases and I intend to do what I can about it. I need not your permission nor approval. Good day to you.

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Feb-12-13 12:35 AM

Good luck with your petition. Our legal system has absolutely no use for them and does not work on popular opinion. No matter how many signatures you get with what is bound to be a rambling and disjointed rant, our legal system will not care about it at all. We don't do popular vote convictions.

You really need to come to terms with the fact that she was found not guilty by qualified legal system personnel. There's nothing you can do about it now. If you were the prosecutor, you could reopen the - oh wait, that's right, the article already said he won't re-try the case.

Give it up. There's nothing you can do, which is good for the rest of us. Remember, guys, the next time a tragedy happens to you and someone who doesn't even live here gets their panties in a bunch they could be trying to stir the pot on you and get you thrown in prison for years and years in order to rub salt into the tragedy you're already trying to deal with.

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Feb-11-13 7:47 PM

involved with this family because they were concerned. I plan to start a petition. I don't know yet how I will word it, or exactly how I will go about it, but if anyone else is as outraged as I am about this case and the continuing pattern of cases like this being ignored or thrown out, please join me. Feel free to message me here and once the petition is live I will get you the link.

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Feb-11-13 7:45 PM

And yes I understand children are fast. I do. I have three of my own and have worked in childcare for years and years. I understand this perfectly. However, I also understand if you have a two year old, you watch them like a hawk. There is absolutely no excuse for them being able to get away from you for an extended period of time, which is what was required for this tragedy to happen. Say, for instance, you're cooking dinner. Your four year old is playing a video game while the two year old is watching. You turn your back for just two minutes. Something could happen. But not this something. No, this was a much longer period of time for both children to get into that other building and start the fire. That IS negligence.

They were not suspected of negligence before, they were actively being pursued because of it. Had CPS found no reasonable cause for suspicions of negligence or abuse, they'd have closed the case and not revisited. But yet every article states they were continuously

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Feb-11-13 7:41 PM


No, I made the quip for the reasons I stated.

Just because a judge is a judge, does not mean they are right in every sentence they hand down. Throughout history, many cases have been thrown out or altered due to these "extremely overqualified" individuals whom use poor judgement. OJ Simpson is a classic "not enough evidence" case.

You can repeat yourself all you like. It's a broken record. I don't give a d*** about the judge or the judge's qualifications. I care that this little girl was not properly supervised and had to die a horrifying death because of that. I care that no one is being made responsible for this. It is an alarming trend in this nation. If people like me do not stand up against it, I shudder to think of the consequences.

Sentences need to be heavier. When a rapist spends 3-4 years for destroying a woman's life in prison, but a person selling, say, marijuana spends two or more decades in prison, you must see the imbalance.

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Feb-11-13 5:59 PM

If CPS has to repeatedly tell you to SUPERVISE your children, you have a problem. Most "good" parents don't have to have an agency tell them.

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Feb-11-13 4:45 PM

As for your evidence...

"The children in another building. The fact that both parents made it out alive, early on. And yet there they were, in the next door building. Alone."

Ok, which is it, then? You've given two different scenarios as to where ma and pa were. If you can't agree with yourself, how did you expect a judge to render a guilty verdict based on conflicting information?

"The lighter." Kids have fingers. I'm sure if you have/had kids you understand how easy it is for them to pick it up. If your kids ever picked up anything dangerous, you should be in prison according to your logic.

Oh, and about your comment regarding children's services - being suspected for one crime does not make you guilty of a different one.

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Feb-11-13 4:41 PM

@HeirOfArtemis - where to begin?

"I quipped about you being a campaign manager, because you sound like a walking advertisement for the judge in this case."

Or perhaps I made a couple of comments about how the judge is more capable than you to try this case which is of course precisely the case. This is another rabid dog response to someone not agreeing with you.

Surely a repeated reminder that this person was found not guilty and the conviction overturned by a competent judge in good standing isn't any more campaign managing than your repeated calls for blood is a campaign for the prosecution.

Deal with it, you're not a judge and in this case competent legal process did not agree with your (approaching hysterical) calls for heavy handed sentences to people we as society do not have enough evidence to try.

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Feb-11-13 1:20 PM

I can't in good conscience believe that this mother would let her child die in such a horrible way on purpose. I raised 4 children and there were incidents that could have taken their lives. I wasn't sleeping when it happened. I wasn't on drugs or drunk. However, they did have accidents, needing stitches and emergency room visits. As did I and my sisters when we were growing up. They survived into adulthood. Only to have a creep kill my youngest daughter. So, I know what it is to lose a beautiful daughter. What I am saying is, parents make mistakes. Someone needs to take a step back. Life happens. Kids are fast. It's like when all is quiet go looking because they are into something, no I don't know the mother or father, I just can't blanket blame people for doing or not doing what they should. I think she and her daughter paid the ultimate price.

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Feb-11-13 11:43 AM

I quipped about you being a campaign manager, because you sound like a walking advertisement for the judge in this case. Many more flowering compliments and it will be a sonnet.

There is evidence. The children in another building. The lighter. The fact that the parents had been continuously investigated for neglectful parenting sets a precedent.The fact that both parents made it out alive, early on. Did not know where the child was.How can they NOT be to blame? The child was practically a baby! Two year old children need constant supervision. You don't occasionally check on them, you keep them at your heels. Her brother was not old enough to be watching her either. And yet there they were, in the next door building. Alone. That IS negligence. And that negligence led to the child's death.

I am not from Washington County. It is not a knee-jerk reaction. It is shock and heartbreak, which is natural in such a case. As for "trusting you", I should rather trust the rabid dog.

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Feb-10-13 11:40 PM

Truly, you've yet to give any rational reason why you believe the judge made a mistake and that this person should remain labeled as a felon.

Saying "A CHILD DIED BRHAARRWGGG!!!!!" isn't a rational reason.

Why should anyone continue to listen to you? You've repeatedly said "there's tons of evidence!" but have yet to show any. Given the judge's decision to overturn the conviction based on lack of evidence, if you believe that the conviction should stand you should give some actual evidence.

Again, just in case you forgot already, saying over and over that there is evidence IS NOT EVIDENCE. Saying that there's a deceased child and living parents IS NOT EVIDENCE.

If you can't do that, we're done here, because you're at a dead standstill in the water.

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Feb-10-13 11:36 PM

If all it takes to have evidence is a dead child and a living parent, we're missing a whole boatload of convictions. Parents outlive children all the time; it's not criminal, it's just saddening.

The mere presence of a living parent and a deceased child, though, is NOT enough proof in our court system; that's why the case was thrown out for lack of evidence. You can keep harping about how there's a dead child so someone must pay in blood, but that doesn't mean that there was enough evidence. Trust me, the people who handle these things are highly trained. They are far more trained than some zealot on the internet. That'd be you, in case you didn't understand the reference.

The rest of your vile blithering (re: being a judge's campaign manager) is truly indicative of what I said earlier: Washington County's knee jerk reactions, and you're acting like a rabid dog about this.

Also, judges are not campaigning right now, so why would I apply for that position?

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Feb-10-13 10:48 PM

ReasonableVoice you sound a tad bit interested in the judge who handed down this verdict. Why don't you sign up to be their campaign manager for all your fervor. This judge has a serious lapse in judgement by tossing out the case and it is disgusting. The evidence is there. The dead child. The living parents. That is quite enough evidence to be getting on with. I will certainly not "let it go". This innocent baby died as a result of two irresponsible adults. A paltry jail sentence is not justice enough. I will write letters, for all the good they will do, but write them I will. And I shall encourage any and everyone I know to stand up for this little girl and the countless other victims of negligence, as well as negligent courts.

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Feb-10-13 9:49 PM

Even today there are tons of examples of large age differences in people we hold up as great people.

For instance, George Soros - the guy lots of us think is awesome since he's worth twenty BILLION dollars, is 42 years older than his wife to be Tamiko Bolton.

Dick Van Dyke was 46 years older than Arlene Silver when they married, and nobody complained.

Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones was 41 years older than Ekaterina Ivanova when they dated. They did not marry, but he did marry Sally Humphreys earlier this year. They're 31 years apart in age.

It's not just ancient history that has large age differences in people getting together. It happens today and it happens to people we idolize.

To worship these people but condemn the woman and guy in this article for the same thing is hypocritical and completely immaterial to the story. There's NOTHING to a claim of "dynamics there that could bear looking into" per @Jeffersonian's statement.

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Feb-10-13 9:28 PM

lol @Jeffersonian

Thomas Jefferson was well north of 50 years of age when he was banging the teenage slave girls at Monticello.

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Feb-10-13 5:15 PM

Also, there's an extremely overqualified person that we've given responsibility to determine if they were responsible. That person has said that she's not.

Given that you've had something of a rabid dog, frothing at the mouth response to this, I'm glad that it's not you.

When the facts presented themselves, a very, VERY qualified person said that she was not responsible.

While it is terrible and very sad when a child passes on, there's no benefit to the usual knee jerk reaction that most of Washington County gives. Let it go. The child passed on in the fire and that's horrible but there's no reason to scream for blood. Crap happens. Let it go.

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Feb-10-13 5:11 PM

So, HeirOfArtemis, when the judge dismissed it because of lack of evidence, that was the overwhelming evidence you're talking about?

There wasn't overwhelming evidence. There was not enough to even have a trial, much less convict on, therefore she's been found not guilty due to lack of evidence.

It doesn't get much more clear than that, so please, stop saying there was a ton of evidence. There wasn't.

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Feb-10-13 5:05 PM

Also, I was merely answering the question asked about the whether or not the man was the father. I was unaware that by replying I was expected to answer every question.

I will have to agree, sadly though I may say, about the age difference. Unless it was a child (under 18) with an older man or woman, I see no harm. My parents were nearly 40 years apart and loved each other very much. Age does not determine a relationship's value nor durability. The character of both persons does.

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Feb-10-13 4:55 PM

@ReasonableVoice There was overwhelming evidence against both of them. With two adults present, they could not reasonably (pun intended) supervise two children? No, they could not. They were lax in that duty which led to the death of one and near death of the other. The children were in a completely separate building. It IS their fault. This is a far cry from an accident. They have, from what I can read of all articles and court summaries, been found to be neglectful before. They were under current supervision of the DHHR for said negligence. I thought quite a bit about what I typed before I posted it. Did these two pathetic excuses for parents think before they left their child unattended? It obviously doesn't look as if they did.

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Feb-10-13 4:34 PM

@Jeffersonian - Are we not free to engage in personal relationships with other adults?

So what if there was an age difference between two consenting adults. It's legal. Who are you to case the evil eye at it?

What are you suggesting, that two adults are not allowed to engage in a consenting relationship?

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