Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Sitter indicted in child's death




By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Rodney Whipple was a murder suspect from the moment he reported finding the toddler in his apartment had broken arms, brain injuries and bite marks.

        Four months later, prosecutors charged Mr. Whipple with aggravated murder.

        The Westwood man was indicted Monday after prosecutors said they matched the bite marks on the boy to Mr. Whipple's teeth. If convicted, he could face a death sentence.

        “It is nearly impossible to comprehend anyone doing this to a child,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen.

Mr. Whipple, 27, is accused of beating and biting the child while baby-sitting on April 4. The victim, 18-month-old Shandon Brown, was the son of Mr. Whipple's

        girlfriend.

        Mr. Whipple told police he had left the child on a bed for a few minutes while he used the bathroom. When he returned, he said, the child was not breathing.

        He then called Shandon's grandmother, who called 911. Shandon was pronounced dead the next day at Children's Hospital Medical Center.

        Mr. Allen said an autopsy revealed several internal injuries, including brain damage and two broken arms.

        He said the exam also found bite marks on the boy's back. During the past few months, de tectives have sought dental records and bite samples from several people who had contact with the child.

        The only match, Mr. Allen said, was to Mr. Whipple.

        Mr. Whipple will face a possible death sentence because the victim is under the age of 13.

        Mr. Whipple already was in jail on an unrelated offense.

        He is charged with participating in a drive-by shooting July 26 in Lincoln Heights. Prosecutors say Mr. Whipple and two other men opened fire on three men on a porch. All three were wounded.

        In that case, Mr. Whipple is charged with attempted murder, felonious assault and weapons charges. If convicted in the drive-by shooting, he faces up to 100 years in prison.

       



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