Ohio Supreme Court: Local couple’s sentence in child’s death isn’t too long

Posted: Dec 22, 2020 / 09:30 AM ESTUpdated: Dec 22, 2020 / 09:30 AM EST

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has reinstated the 10-year prison sentence given to a Richmond Heights couple convicted of failing to obtain medical care for their special-needs daughter who died.

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In a 6-1 ruling issued Monday, the justices found the 8th District Court of Appeals overstepped its authority in 2018 when it determined the sentence given to Randy and Carissa Jones was too harsh. They were convicted in 2015 of involuntary manslaughter and child endangering in 12-year-old Tia Jones’ death and have remained jailed since the sentence was imposed.

Doctors said Tia died in 2013 after an abscess on her ankle became gangrenous, causing a staph infection that led to pneumonia. She weighed 64 pounds (29 kilograms) when she died.

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The 8th District Court of Appeals said the couple did what they thought best in caring for her. But the majority of the state Supreme Court ruled that appeals courts can only vacate sentences where they run afoul of state law, and the Joneses’ sentence was within the confines of the law.

The lone dissenting Supreme Court judge found the majority’s ruling essentially prohibits appeals courts from providing any meaningful review of sentences doled out at the state’s trial court level.

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