Friday, October 17, 2003

Jury wants 10 years for man who shook child

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

NEWPORT - A Campbell County jury Thursday recommended a 21-year-old Newport man spend 10 years in jail for shaking his 3-year-old stepdaughter to death.

The same jurors found John N. Burton III guilty of second-degree manslaughter Wednesday.

Campbell Circuit Judge William Wehr will formally sentence Burton on Nov. 6. He can follow the jury's recommendation or sentence Burton to a lesser punishment. Second-degree manslaughter carries a penalty of five to 10 years in prison.

Burton rejected a plea-bargain agreement that would require him to serve up to 40 years in prison, and Wehr has denied Burton's claim that he is incompetent to stand trial.

Campbell County Commonwealth Attorney Jack Porter contended that Burton was frustrated in January when he reached out in anger and shook 3-year-old Jasmine Robinson to death. Porter told jurors that Burton felt overwhelmed taking care of Jasmine and her 3-month-old sister in their West 13th Street home in Newport, where he lived with the girls' mother, Trisha Hall.

Jasmine died at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center on her third birthday. She had been rushed there the day before after being found unconscious at her home. Doctors said she died of brain trauma caused by shaking.

During the two-day trial, defense attorney Pat Walsh conceded that Burton caused the girl's death, but said it was an accident.


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