Grand jury: Man indicted in toddler death

A Marietta man accused of cooking and eating dinner while a 2-year-old boy in his care drowned in the bathtub was one of 28 people indicted by a Washington County grand jury this week.

Joshua D. Sciance, 25, of 111 W. Montgomery St. Lot 12, Marietta, was indicted on a third-degree felony count of endangering children.

“Josh was the child’s mother’s boyfriend. The 2-year-old child was taking a bath with his 3-year-old sister and he left them unattended for a long period of time,” said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

Initially Sciance told officers he had only left 23-month-old Connar Hilton and his sister alone in the bathtub for three or four minutes on March 18. But later he admitted to consuming eight 16-ounce beers that day and leaving the children alone for at least 20 minutes while he cooked and ate a pizza, said Schneider.

Hilton was taken to Marietta Memorial Hospital and life flighted to Children’s Hospital in Columbus later that night to be put on life support. However, the boy died the next day from injuries due to a near drowning, said Schneider.

There had initially been some concern that child abuse could have been a factor, he said.

“At the emergency room here they found a bruise on the child’s head,” he said.

However, it was later confirmed that Hilton had sustained that bruise in a squabble with his sister, and any child abuse was ruled out, said Schneider.

“This doesn’t appear to be malicious, just negligent,” he said.

Sciance faces up to three years in prison on the charge.

He is being held at the Washington County Jail in lieu of a $15,000 bond on the child endangerment charge and a $2,500 bond on a criminal damaging charge. The criminal damaging charge dates back to March 2012 when Sciance broke a window at the Locker Room in Marietta. He was still on probation for that crime when he was recently arrested, resulting in the $2,500 bond when his probation was revoked.

Sex crimes

Also indicted was a 32-year-old Marietta man accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Phillip E. A. Pruden, of 852 Greene St. Apt. 2, Marietta, was indicted on three third-degree felony counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

“Both lived on Greene Street at the time,” said Schneider.

The girl said she and Pruden had sex on three occasions ranging from late June to Aug. 3.

“This all came out in counseling. She told a counselor she lost her virginity to someone in their 30s and the counselor followed up on it,” he said.

Pruden admitted he engaged in sex with the girl, but said it only happened once, said Schneider.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years so Pruden could face 15 years in prison.

Pruden remains in jail in lieu of a $15,000 bond.

Another 32-year-old man was indicted for an unrelated incident of sexual misconduct with a juvenile female victim.

Kevin A. Townsend, of 2214 State Route 550, was indicted on a third-degree felony count of gross sexual imposition.

The victim, now 14, came forward in January alleging that in October 2010 she had been at Townsend’s home when he removed some of her clothing, touched her breasts and refused to let her leave the room.

“The child was less than 13 at the time of the touching, so it’s a third-degree felony,” said Assistant Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings.

Townsend, who has previous convictions for domestic violence and aggravated menacing, faces a maximum of five years in prison on the charge.

Townsend posted his $75,000 bond on Feb. 1 through a bondsman.

Other indictments included:

Brandon Schmidt, 22, of 830 Ridge St., Marietta, was indicted on a third-degree felony count of burglary. Schmidt is accused of breaking into a home on the west side of Marietta on Oct. 25 and stealing a television. The burglary was thought to be one of more than a dozen related daytime burglaries that occurred in Marietta last fall.

Brian Bates, 36, of 19891 Everly Road, Sarahsville, Ohio, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of burglary. Bates allegedly broke into a trailer owned by David and Caroljean Stanley, owners of the Fox Den Bar and Grill on Ohio 821. Bates was reportedly refused service at the bar because he was already in a drunken state, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Jared Erb. So Bates entered a nearby trailer owned by the Stanleys, rummaged through their things, and passed out in the bed where Caroljean found him the next morning, he said.

Angelo A. Vance Jr., 23, of 2395 Sheets Run Drive, New Matamoras, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of theft. Vance had been staying when his then-girlfriend and her mother in February when he allegedly stole the mother’s credit card from her wallet and spent more than $1,000, taking money from ATMs and making convenience store purchases.

Joseph R. Fox, 33, of 9556 State Route 550, Vincent, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of trafficking in drugs and a fourth-degree misdemeanor count of possession of drugs. Fox was the passenger in a vehicle pulled over Feb. 25 at Ohio 550 and Virginia Street for not having a visible license plate. The officer smelled marijuana and a search of the vehicle revealed four bags of raw marijuana and $270 in five, 10 and 20 dollar bills.

Keri A. LaFatch, 35, of 705 Elm St., Belpre, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of possession of drugs. Agents from the Major Crimes Task Force executed a search warrant at LaFatch’s home on Feb. 2 and found a metal pipe with crack cocaine residue.

Justin B. Matheny, 30, of Route 2 Box 170A, Letart, W.Va., was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of possession of drugs. Matheny was pulled over on I-77 near Exit 1 on Oct. 20. Officers found 35 Suboxone pills in the car.

Shanita M. Moore, 30, of 6100 Evergreen Ave., Detroit, Mich., Ashley Moore, 27, of 15854 Ilene St., Detroit, and Dustin R. Jones, 26, of 6228 Hecla St., Detroit, were each indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of receiving stolen property and a fifth-degree felony count of possession of criminal tools. The trio were stopped by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on April 11, 2011 in a rented van from North Carolina. The van was full of electronic equipment and many thousands of dollars worth of property that had allegedly been purchased using fake or stolen credit cards. The equipment was used to encode credit cards with false information. There were also more than 100 bogus credit cards found in the vehicle.

Steven R. McNemar, 28, of 2430 Vista View Drive, Zanesville, was indicted on a third-degree felony count of grand theft of a firearm, a fifth-degree felony count of falsification to purchase a firearm and a first-degree misdemeanor count of passing bad checks. McNemar reportedly purchased several items from McLeish Auctions on Jan. 12 using a $600 check from a bank account that had already been closed. Additionally, McNemar allegedly lied on the application for the shotgun he purchased, checking that he had never been convicted of domestic violence, when in fact he had.

Michael E. Packard, 45, of 811 Walnut St., Belpre, was indicted on two third-degree felony counts of possession of drugs. After receiving several complaints from Packard’s neighbors and witnessing excessive traffic to and from his home, the Belpre Police Department obtained a search warrant and delivered it just as a UPS truck was making a delivery on May 1. Executing the warrant, the police found two different types of bath salts.

Larry D. Rutter, 39, of 437 Elk Run Road, Beverly, was indicted on a third-degree felony count of illegal cultivation of marijuana. The Major Crimes Task Force received a tip from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office that Rutter was allegedly growing marijuana on his property near the Morgan County border. When they executed a warrant at his house, they seized 38 plants, or roughly 1,600 grams.

Brandon Weimer, 24, of 423 Phillips St. Apt. C, Marietta, was indicted on two fourth-degree felony counts of trafficking in drugs. Weimer allegedly sold two Percocets to agents from the Major Crimes Task force on Sept. 14 and four days later he allegedly sold them 21 unit doses of heroin in Reno.

Douglas L. Morrison, 50, of 826 Sams Lane, Washington, W.Va., was indicted on seven fifth-degree felony counts of violating a protection order and a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence. Douglas allegedly sent harassing text messages and made calls to his estranged wife and when arrested, he had deleted all the incriminating texts and calls from his phone.

Steven Sprague, 62, of Dickinson, N.D., was indicted on a second-degree misdemeanor count of coercion. Sprague had been giving money to a girlfriend in Washington County and when the woman recently broke off their relationship, Sprague allegedly demanded she repay all the money or he would send embarrassing letters to her family, employer, new boyfriend and more.

Vincent residents Kevin Busch, 19, of 1380 Brackenridge Road, and Destry S. Todd, 22, of 2195 Layman Road, were each indicted on a second-degree felony count of burglary. Busch and Todd allegedly broke into a home on Brackenridge Road that was in the process of being fixed-up. The owner drove by one night to see lights on and stopped to find the house had been rummaged through. Investigating officers found a cell phone that had been dropped in the house and called a contact listed as “Dad”, which led them to Busch and Todd.

Nicholas J. Patterson, 30, of 807 Leonard Ave., Belpre, was indicted on two fourth-degree felony counts of trafficking. Patterson reportedly sold 11 unit doses of heroin to undercover agents in Belpre on two occasions in October. Patterson was recently sentenced to 10 weekends in jail for a July 15 drug possession charge.

Timothy W. Evans, 26, of 432 Fifth St., Marietta, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of theft from an elderly person. Evans had been staying with his step-grandparents in Devola in December when his step-grandmother took ill. When she returned from the hospital, the 75-year-old victim noticed unauthorized credit card charges and missing jewelry. Evans allegedly used the card to purchase more than $1,500 worth of items and sold the $4,000 worth of jewelry.

Stacey M. Cole, 27, of 703 Eighth St., Marietta, was indicted on a third-degree felony count of trafficking in drugs. Cole allegedly sold 20 Percocets to a task force agent on Oct. 26 in the 700 block of Eighth Street in the presence of her juvenile children.

Ali R. Martin, 23, of 423 Third St., Marietta, and Abby L. Roach, 19, of 809 Fourth St., Marietta, were each indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of theft and a fifth-degree felony count of receiving stolen property. On April 25, the pair were going through an ATM at Peoples Bank when they found a debit card that had been forgotten by the previous customer. The girls allegedly went on a spending spree with the card, racking up $2,200 in charges.

Martin was also indicted separately on a fifth-degree felony count of trafficking in drugs. In February 2010, task force agents reportedly bought cocaine from Martin.

Terry G. Dalton, 47, of 1313 Jewett Drive, Zanesville, was indicted on a third-degree felony count of domestic violence. Dalton has at least three prior domestic violence charges, including a felony domestic violence charge in Muskingum County. While in Beverly on Jan. 26, Dalton reportedly punched his teenage daughter in the face.

Dominique J. Jenkins, 21, of 4485 Simpson Road, Edgemoor, S.C., was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of trafficking in drugs. Jenkins was a passenger in a vehicle stopped by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Oct. 6. There was allegedly a strong smell of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. When searched, an officer found 18 grams of marijuana packaged in little baggies and scales which Jenkins confessed to owning.