Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler
APPEAL FROM BUTLER COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No.
Michael T. Gmoser, Butler County Prosecuting Attorney,
Michael Greer, Government Services Center, 315 High Street,
11th Floor, Hamilton, Ohio 45011, for plaintiff-appellee
Repper, Pagan, Cook, Ltd., Christopher J. Pagan, 1501 First
Avenue, Middletown, Ohio 45044, for defendant-appellant
1} Defendant-appellant, Bradley Young, appeals his
murder conviction in the Butler County Court of Common Pleas.
For the reasons detailed below, we affirm.
2} On December 2, 2015, at approximately 6:00 a.m.,
Rebekah K. called 911 for emergency assistance with regard to
her two-year-old daughter, K.K., who was not breathing.
Deputy Greg Turner and several other law enforcement
officials arrived at Young's residence where Young was
attempting to give CPR to K.K. Deputy Turner took over for
Young and began administering CPR to K.K. until the EMT squad
3} While life-saving efforts were ongoing,
authorities made contact with Young and Rebekah. In
describing the events leading to the 911 call, neither Young
nor Rebekah reported that K.K. had been beaten or abused.
Young, however, mentioned that he and K.K. had been in a
recent car accident. Young also claimed that K.K. had
recently fallen from a chair in the kitchen and that K.K. had
a bump and cut on the back of her head from the faucet.
4} There were, however, conflicting stories about
who was with K.K. immediately prior to the 911 call.
Subsequent investigations revealed that Young and Rebekah had
been communicating through text messages. Shortly after 7:00
a.m., Young and Rebekah sent the following messages to each
Young: There [sic] going to try and make us look like bad
parents babe not sure how they got three different stories
either Chucknever said anything this is stupid.
Young: I love you and stay strong will be with.her [sic] soon
Rebekah: I know babe I love you to [sic]
Young: Just telling them she was laying with both of us in
the living in the couch [sic] so they don't try and turn
it around on you or me.
5} K.K. was transported to Atrium hospital, arriving
in a state of cardio pulmonary arrest. While at Atrium,
emergency personnel were able to restart K.K.'s heart and
staff performed a CT scan on K.K.'s brain. Because of the
seriousness of her injuries, K.K. was transported to
Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
6} Following transportation to Cincinnati
Children's, medical staff performed a second CT scan on
K.K.'s brain. However, efforts to revive K.K. were
unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead on December 4, 2016.
7} Detectives interviewed Young and Rebekah while
K.K. was still in the hospital. Young maintained that he had
never harmed K.K. and insisted that both he and Rebekah were
with the child on the couch when she suddenly cried out and
began having problems breathing. Young continued, however, to
tell law enforcement about various "accidents" that
had happened to K.K. Young maintained that K.K. had
previously fallen off a chair, had been involved in the
previously mentioned car accident, and K. K. had recently
struck her head on a faucet.
8} On December 10, 2016, Young was indicted for
involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, permitting
child abuse, and murder.
9} On September 26, 2016, Young's case proceeded
to a multiple-day jury trial. During voir dire, Juror 883
disclosed that, 41 years ago, he had been convicted of a
felony drug offense in Indiana. Juror 883 indicated that he
had been incarcerated for that offense for five months in the
"youth center." Juror 883 continued to explain that
he was released and subsequently earned an engineering
10} Young moved to strike Juror 883 for cause under
R.C. 2313.17 and R.C. 2945.25 on the basis of the former
felony conviction. The state disagreed and argued that Juror
883 was eligible to serve. Following the exchange, the trial
court denied Young's request to strike Juror 883 for
cause. Thereafter, Young used two preemptory challenges on
two other jurors, but waived any use of his remaining
preemptory challenges. Therefore, Juror 883 was empaneled on
11} The state introduced the testimonies of various
medical experts and law enforcement personnel. Deputy Turner
testified about his communications with Young and Rebekah
after EMTs arrived. Deputy Turner testified that he spoke
with Rebekah and Young because he was concerned about
bruising he observed on K.K.
12} Deputy Turner described Rebekah as emotional and
distressed. Rebekah told Deputy Turner that K.K. had
experienced a nightmare and eventually stopped breathing.
Young reported the same general information to Deputy Turner.
13} The state called Bradley Peters, a fire
lieutenant and EMT for Madison Township. EMT Peters spoke
with Young and Rebekah to find out what had happened to K.K.
EMT Peters stated:
[Young] stated that he was asleep alone with the child.
[K.K.] was face down on his chest. At some point the child
had woken up screaming, crying hysterically. [Young] stated
that he thought she possibly had had a nightmare. He got up
to go into a different part of the household to get the
child's mother. At that point, * * * [K.K.] started
breathing ineffectively and they contacted 911 to have us
14} The state also called Sergeant Jamy Chaney with
the Trenton Police Department. Sergeant Chaney spoke with
Rebekah, who she described as "nervous, upset,
concerned." Rebekah stated that K.K. had been screaming
and crying, keeping her and Young awake all night. Rebekah
indicated that they were holding K.K. when she went limp and
15} Sergeant Chaney then asked Young if he knew what
had happened and Young replied that K.K. had fallen from a
chair in the kitchen and hit the back of her head causing a
bump and a cut. Young also stated that he and K.K. had been
"in a minor, like, fender bender car accident several
16} Deputy Brian Romans from the Butler County
Sheriffs Office described Rebekah as upset, "emotionally
shaken, " and stuttering her words. Rebekah told Deputy
Romans that K.K. had two "night terrors" that
night, the first occurring approximately two hours before the
last one. During the second night terror, Rebekah stated that
K.K. was screaming loudly and "gasping for air."
Young was holding K.K. when she stopped breathing and Young
then told Rebekah to call 911.
17} Deputy Romans then spoke to Young. Deputy Romans
[Young] went on to explain to me that they were located on
the couch. He was lying on the couch with K.K. on his chest.
Rebekah was in the bedroom. He stated that during that time,
* * * [K.K.], had experienced a night terror that Rebekah had
claimed that they were having and he woke her up, he stood
up, she started crying, gasping for air, and at one point she
He stated that he walked to the bedroom to get Rebekah. He
summons her to call 911 and that is when they begin CPR.
18} Detective Joe Ventre of the Butler County
Sheriffs Office testified and authenticated several
photographs of Young's hands, which were visibly cut and
19} On the fourth day of trial, the state called
Rebekah to the stand. Rebekah testified on direct
examination, and Young's counsel conducted a lengthy
cross-examination. Near the end of the day, Young's
counsel indicated that it still had several hours of
additional cross-examination to perform and the matter was
adjourned until the following day.
20} The next day, Young's counsel asked the
trial court to hold a competency hearing for Rebekah. Rebekah
was questioned by the state, Young's counsel, and the
trial court. Following questioning, Young's counsel moved
to strike Rebekah's testimony due to incompetency.
Alternatively, Young's counsel moved for a mistrial.
21} The trial court determined that Rebekah was
"incapable of relating just impressions of the facts
truthfully" and found her incompetent to testify. The
trial court then struck Rebekah's testimony and Young
withdrew the request for a mistrial. The trial court then
instructed the jury:
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm instructing you and I'm
ordering you to disregard the testimony of [Rebekah]. Now, I
appreciate that that's a difficult concept to disregard
something that you've actually heard. The Court cannot
instruct you to delete something from your mind of what
you've actually heard. What I'm ordering you to do
is, if somehow you should remember anything that [Rebekah]
testified to, you're instructed to disregard it.
For example, say to yourself, I cannot consider or be
influenced by that in any way or for any purpose. Obviously
that testimony must not be mentioned or otherwise be made
part of your deliberations. Understood? ...