Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jeremy Hendrex Found Guilty of Child Abuse

A Sandusky man, who formerly lived in Weathersfield, cried Wednesday evening as he was found guilty of seriously injuring his infant daughter in 2007.

Jeremy Hendrex, 29, had his bond revoked and was taken to Trumbull County Jail to await sentencing Aug. 24. He faces between two and eight years behind bars for his conviction on felonious assault and child endangering charges, both second-degree felonies.

The felonious assault alleged that Hendrex caused ''serious physical harm'' to his daughter, 10-week-old Alyssa Jarome, on Sept. 22, 2007. The endangering charge alleged that Hendrex was reckless in causing injuries to the child.

The jury decided Hendrex intentionally caused the injuries.

Assistant prosecutor Diane Barber said Hendrex and members of his family cried after the verdicts were read.

The jury of four men and eight women was forced to stay after hours Wednesday after one member of the panel told the court they were unable to return to deliberate today. Barber said deliberations lasted about five hours.

"I think the jury weighed the evidence and came to the right decision," Barber said.

Defense attorney Patrick Donlin told the jury that there was clearly reasonable doubt after conflicting testimony from his medical expert and several experts from Cleveland Clinic offering reports or called to the witness stand by Barber.

The doctors testifying for the prosecution said they detected two skull fractures that could have only come from deliberate blows.

A physician from Washington, D.C., testifying for the defense said he found no fractures and that initial seizures suffered by the infant were most likely from a condition developed at birth.

Donlin tried to convince jurors that Hendrex may have only accidentally caused some injuries; or other family members could have caused the injuries; or the child was born with external hydrocephalus, a collection of fluid on the brain.

In arguing for guilt, Barber pointed out the circumstantial evidence she produced and the fact that Hendrex and the baby's mother, Shari Jarome, were the only ones with the baby in the last 24 hours before she was taken to St. Joseph Health Center and then flown to the Cleveland hospital.

Alyssa, now 2, only speaks about 10 words and is considered developmentally delayed and blind in one eye, caused by retinal bleeding.

In early statements, the defendant admitted nothing. But in final statements captured on tape, he admits the baby hit her head on a bathtub faucet, slipped off his lap on to the floor and tripped over an electrical cord under a rug. He also said the baby fell from his arms onto wooden trim on a sofa in the Weathersfield trailer he shared with the child's mother.

Common Pleas Judge Peter Kontos heard the case.

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