Thursday, April 8, 2004

What killed Brandon? Mom accused of murder



By Sharon Coolidge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BATAVIA - A Miami Township mother was indicted Wednesday on charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 6-year-old son.

A Clermont County grand jury indicted Christina Miracle, 25, in the Feb. 6 death of Brandon Lehn. Authorities have said the boy died of homicidal violence.

"The issue will be what was her mental state at the time," Assistant Clermont County Prosecutor Daniel Breyer said. "I think she meant to commit the crime, but that doesn't answer the whole question - did Miracle know what she was doing was wrong?

"Insanity does not negate your intent."

Miracle, who remains hospitalized at Summit Behavioral Center, was first charged with child endangering. She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to that charge March 4.

Based on a psychiatric evaluation, Clermont County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ringland has ruled her incompetent to stand trial. He will re-evaluate her competency in July.

Miracle's lawyer, Scott Croswell, was out of town Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

The Hamilton County coroner who performed the autopsy on Brandon said the child had a pattern of bruises on his back consistent with him having been beaten. He also had a torn upper lip.

"He died from some sort of asphyxiation," Breyer said. "Either suffocation through strangulation or drowning."

Brandon's father, David Lehn of Taylor Mill, wasn't surprised by the grand jury's decision.

"I figured she had something to do with it," Lehn said. "But, it doesn't matter how it happened - just that it did.

"I miss Brandon so much. Nothing can make up for the fact that he's gone."

E-mail scoolidge@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
Should voting age fall to 16?
What killed Brandon? Mom accused of murder
Tradition, faith, reunion
Teens learn top road killers
Plates that poked fun at preppy Miami U. lifted

IN THE TRISTATE
Honor to stand; victim approves
Your used cell phone has value to fund-raisers
Developer drops plans for Clifton restaurants
Protests test council's patience
Oversight price tag draws questions
Approval likely for Deerfield Y
Edgewood approves 'pay to play' plan
A son dead, couple looks for answers
News briefs
Eateries, offices OK'd for Mason
Residents oppose houses that would block views
New Miami drops clerk-treasurer job
Driver sentenced to 4 years for wreck that killed 4 friends
Oxford delays decision on Wal-Mart gas station
Public safety briefs
Spring musicals take to the stage
Panel urges paper proof for voters
Ind. Wesleyan starts West Chester classes in August

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Allen Temple is part of blood drive

LIVES REMEMBERED
Kenneth Reed inspected buildings, taught college

KENTUCKY STORIES
Budget talks become heated
Hebron hires Erlanger fire chief
Valley Orchards will become sports complex
Mongiardo asks for videotape of Bunning speech
Stressed students prepare
Wilder residents wary of burglars
Kentucky briefs