Buckeye Valley residents raise more questions over ballot issue

September 26, 2011

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Staff Writer

After missing a series of court-ordered appointments over the past few weeks, a Marengo man will serve another year in prison on top of the three years he was already set to receive for assaulting his ex-girlfriend’s infant daughter last year.

Jason M. Walters, 27, was sentenced Monday to four years in prison on a second-degree felony child endangerment conviction. Walters was babysitting in December 2010 when he called the girl’s mother and said the girl, who was then 20 months old, had fallen down the stairs.

However, doctors said the girl’s injuries, which included a skull fracture and bleeding on the brain, showed she had been grabbed on the neck and hit in the face. Walters also told conflicting stories to the girl’s mother, doctors and police, saying in some cases he saw the girl fall and in others that he was in another room when it happened, assistant prosecutor Greg Tapocsi said Monday.

The girl spent three days in the hospital, and while she is now fine physically, family members say she is still afraid of men and shows other signs of emotional damage, Tapocsi said.

Last month, Walters entered an Alford Plea to the charge, which means he acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him, but doesn’t admit guilt.

As part of a plea deal, Walters’ defense attorney and prosecutors had agreed to a recommended three-year prison sentence. But Walters skipped three required meetings with court officials before his sentencing date, regularly let his GPS ankle bracelet run out of batteries and was seen driving around late at night in violation of his bail conditions. So Common Pleas Judge Everett H. Krueger sentenced him to another year.

In court Monday, defense attorney Chris Soon called the injuries “a terrible tragedy,” but Walters was unapologetic, telling Krueger that the episode has been difficult on him and his family.

“As far as what happened goes, I did everything I could to protect her. The only thing I did was I was negligent, seeing as how she got away from me. It could have happened to anyone,” Walters said.