FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR 16 08 2511
MICHAEL J. GOEBL, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and HEAVEN DIMARTINO,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
HENSAL, Presiding Judge.
Demetrius Ford appeals his convictions and sentence from the
Summit County Court of Common Pleas. We affirm.
This appeal involves injuries that Mr. Ford's
four-month-old daughter ("Daughter") sustained
while in Mr. Ford's care and the criminal convictions
associated therewith. At trial, Mr. Ford testified that he
and C.G. ("Mother") had a brief relationship that
resulted in Mother becoming pregnant. Mr. Ford and
Mother's relationship ended prior to Daughter's
birth, and Mr. Ford admitted that he only saw Daughter
"like every blue moon * * * [and] not that much."
During a visit to Mother's apartment, Mr. Ford gave
Daughter two baths. The first bath did not result in injuries
to Daughter, but Mr. Ford noticed that the bath water
suddenly became hot when Mother flushed the toilet. Later
that evening, Mr. Ford woke up from a nap and decided to
change Daughter's diaper prior to catching a bus home.
Mr. Ford then asked Mother to give Daughter a bath and became
frustrated and annoyed when she did not do it. He, therefore,
decided to bathe Daughter himself. Mother was not in the
bathroom while Mr. Ford bathed Daughter.
According to Mr. Ford, he placed Daughter in a mesh baby seat
in the bath tub and used the detachable shower head to wash
her. He noticed that the water started to steam, so he
immediately turned it off and left the bathroom to find a
towel. Upon finding a blanket, he returned to the bathroom
and saw that Daughter's skin was peeling. He then picked
her up, wrapped her in the blanket, used Mother's phone
to call 911, and then gave Mother the phone back so that she
could speak to the operator. He then placed Daughter on the
couch. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Ford heard a "thud"
and saw that Daughter had fallen off of the couch. He picked
Daughter up, told her to "quit moving[, ]" and
waited for EMS to arrive. EMS transported Daughter to the
hospital where she received treatment for burns to her face,
neck, and shoulders, as well as fractures to her ribs and
A Grand Jury indicted Mr. Ford on two counts of felonious
assault in violation of Revised Code Section 2903.11(A)(1),
two counts of endangering children in violation of Sections
2919.22(B)(2), 2919.22(B)(1), respectively, and two counts of
endangering children in violation of Section 2919.22(A). The
Court later dismissed the two counts of endangering children
under Section 2919.22(A). Mr. Ford pleaded not guilty, and
the case proceeded to a jury trial.
At trial, two doctors testified that Daughter's burns
were consistent with an immersion burn, meaning that Daughter
must have been dunked face first into scalding water. They
reached this conclusion after noting the sharp line of
demarcation on her body (i.e., from burned to not burned),
and the absence of burns from splash marks, which they would
have expected to see if Mr. Ford had been using the shower
head to bathe Daughter. One doctor testified that
Daughter's burns were not medically possible according to
Mr. Ford's version of the events, and the other doctor
opined that Daughter's injuries were not consistent with
an accidental burn.
Regarding the rib fractures, the doctors testified that this
type of injury is consistent with abuse, and is
"extraordinarily rare" otherwise. The doctors
disagreed, however as to when the rib fractures could have
occurred; one opined that they occurred within 12 hours or
less by the time Daughter was medically evaluated, and the
other opined that they could have been up to 10 days old.
Both doctors opined that the skull fracture resulted from
some sort of impact to Daughter's head.
The jury ultimately found Mr. Ford guilty of one count of
felonious assault relative to the burn injuries Daughter
sustained, and two counts of endangering children, one of
which related to the burn injuries, the other of which
related to the rib and skull injuries. The jury found Mr.
Ford not guilty of felonious assault with respect to the rib
and skull injuries. The trial court determined that the
endangering-children counts merged with the felonious-assault
count for purposes of sentencing and sentenced Mr. Ford to
eight years of incarceration. He now ...