Saturday, April 20, 2002

Man sentenced in death of unborn son

6 months in jail will include anger management

By Sheila McLaughlin,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A 24-year-old Franklin man with a history of domestic violence was sentenced Friday to six months in the Community Correctional Center (CCC) for causing the death of his unborn son in an assault on his girlfriend.

        “I'm just sorry it happened,” Danny Scearce told Judge Neal Bronson during the hearing in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

        Mr. Scearce pleaded no contest last month to reckless homicide and was convicted in the Oct. 27 death of the couple's unborn son, Dylan Lee Scearce.

        The Butler County coroner ruled that the baby was stillborn at 27 weeks after the placenta tore away from the uterus as a result of trauma.

        That trauma, Franklin police said, occurred when Mr. Scearce shoved his girlfriend, Lisa Smith, during an argument and caused her to fall.

        Ms. Smith, who initially told hospital emergency room workers that she fell down a flight of steps, did not attend Friday's hearing. Prosecutors said she was uncooperative in the investigation.

        “This is a tragic situation. It may be something that was predictable,” Judge Bronson said, alluding to two other incidents in which Ms. Smith and Mr. Scearce were involved in domestic assaults that were reported to police.

        Even though Mr. Scearce pleaded to the homicide charge, he disputed that he assaulted Ms. Smith in October.

        “He never intended for this to occur or for Lisa to fall,” defense attorney Rick West told the judge.

        Judge Bronson said Mr. Scearce will receive anger management and substance abuse counseling during his stay at CCC — a minimum security detention facility in Turtlecreek Township for first-time offenders who could benefit from treatment.

        The judge also placed Mr. Scearce on probation for three years following his release from CCC.


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