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Woman admits beating 2-year-old son to death for ‘whining’

Published: Thursday, February 09, 2017 @ 1:08 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 09, 2017 @ 1:08 PM

(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
(Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A Canadian woman pleaded guilty this week to manslaughter in the 2014 death of her toddler son, who she said she beat to death out of frustration over his “whining.”

 

The Calgary Herald reported that Livia Starlight awaits sentencing in the slaying of 2-year-old Traezlin Denzel Starlight. Starlight’s defense lawyer is seeking mercy, citing her status as a member of the Tsuut’ina Nation, one of the predominant aboriginal peoples of Canada.

 

Starlight, 30, was initially charged with second-degree murder. She was arrested in July 2015 after an investigation into her son’s death.

 

Crown prosecutor Photini Papadatou told the Court of Queen’s Bench on Monday that Traezlin was in and out of foster care throughout his short life because of Starlight’s drug and alcohol use, the Herald reported. Starlight was already under investigation for previous injuries to the boy on Sept. 18, 2014, when she said she grew frustrated by his behavior.

 

“When he started whining again, she picked him up off the floor and threw him onto the couch,” Papadatou said, according to the Herald. “While the cushions of the couch are soft, the arms of the couch are quite hard.”

 

When Starlight realized a few moments later that Traezlin was in distress, she texted her mother for help, the newspaper reported. “My baby’s not breathing. I’m scared,” read the text, which also asked Starlight’s mother to call for help.

 

Traezlin went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance on the way to Alberta Children’s Hospital and died a week later, the Herald said.

 

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At the time of the fatal beating, Starlight was under investigation for a head injury that Traezlin suffered in August 2014, when she had him out of his foster home for a visit. In that case, Starlight claimed that her son fell out of his car seat and onto his head.

 

There were at least two previous incidents of alleged abuse as well, beginning in June 2014. In those instances, Starlight blamed the bruises on her son’s foster parents and Calgary police investigators could not determine the cause of the injuries.

 

“It was noted Livia Starlight would not cooperate with investigators, and she refused to provide a statement,” read a statement of agreed-upon facts presented in court on Monday. “The children were left in Livia’s care while the investigation proceeded.”

 

Traezlin’s autopsy showed evidence of multiple head injuries, including at least two inflicted in the month between the start of the most recent investigation into Starlight’s treatment of him and the day he suffered his fatal injuries.

 

The Herald reported that the autopsy also found bruises on the toddler’s abdomen and buttocks.

 

Alain Hepner, Starlight’s defense lawyer, is seeking a term of four to six years in prison for his client, who he claims has suffered a lifetime of racism and discrimination as an aboriginal person. Justice William Tilleman has ordered a psychiatric evaluation of Starlight, as well as a Gladue report on her background.

 

According to the Washington Post, a Gladue report is a presentencing report that takes into account the level of prejudice against aboriginal peoples in Canada’s criminal justice system. Proponents of the reports say the documents contribute to a “restorative approach” to justice.

 

Critics liken the reports to get-out-of-jail-free cards that lead to inconsistent administration of justice, the Post reported.

 

“A court worker will delve into the dynamics of Starlight’s life -- the growing-up years, the economic and social issues that surround the family and what contributed to this matter,” Hepner told the Post. “I think a lot of information will come forward from the psychiatric report and the Gladue report that will paint her, in my view, as a very sympathetic person.

 
“Some cases are awful and the people involved are just plain evil. But this is not one of those cases.”

Troopers in OVI checkpoints also trained to spot those on opioids

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 2:06 PM

An OVI checkpoint was conducted Friday night, July 21, 2017, on U.S. 40 in Vandalia. TODD JACKSON / STAFF
TODD JACKSON / STAFF
An OVI checkpoint was conducted Friday night, July 21, 2017, on U.S. 40 in Vandalia. TODD JACKSON / STAFF(TODD JACKSON / STAFF)

UPDATE @ 11:15 p.m.

Troopers just wrapped up an OVI checkpoint tonight on U.S. 40 just in Vandalia, just south of the Dayton International Airport.

Between 350 and 450 cars traveled through the sobriety checkpoint between 9 and 11 p.m. The goal is to deter and intercept impaired drivers. While the smell of alcohol or marijuana can be easy to detect, opioids can be tougher to identify. But troopers are trained to spot that, too.

“Typically when we do a checkpoint we try to stop every car that comes through,” said Lt. Mark Nichols of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Dayton Post. “Then when we approach your vehicle, we’re just going to ask you some quick questions.

“We want to get up there ... make our evaluation very quickly,” Nichols said.

FIRST REPORT

An OVI checkpoint will be held from 9 to 11 p.m. tonight in Vandalia.

The sobriety checkpoint will be on U.S. 40, and will include patrols in the surrounding area to aggressively combat alcohol-related injury and fatal crashes, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

RELATED: OVI checkpoint tonight in Sidney

The checkpoint, funded by federal grants, is planned to deter and intercept impaired drivers. State law requires law enforcement to announce checkpoint times and locations.

The patrol recommends that anyone planning to consume alcohol should designate a sober driver or make other travel arrangements before drinking.

Police seek driver in hit-and-run crash on NB I-75 in West Carrollton

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 10:33 PM

FROM SCENE: Multiple vehicle crash on I-75 North

UPDATE @ 10:55 p.m.

A hit-and-run driver struck another motorist tonight in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 in West Carrollton.

What was initially reported around 9:20 p.m. as a multiple-vehicle crash was a two-car crash with other motorists who stopped to help, according to the West Carrollton Police Department.

One person was taken to a local hospital with injuries that appear to be minor, police said.

FIRST REPORT

We’re hearing reports of a multiple-vehicle crash tonight in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 in West Carrollton.

At least one injury was reported in the crash involving four to five vehicles that happened around 9:20 p.m. in the far left lane south of Exit 47, according to initial reports.

Inmate at Georgia jail, nurse passed letters, had sexual relationship, officials say

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 10:51 PM

Aleah Risby (left) and Jerrell Hopkins, an inmate at Fulton County Jail,  had a sexual relationship while Risby was working as a nurse at the jail, officials say.
Fulton County Sheriff's Office
Aleah Risby (left) and Jerrell Hopkins, an inmate at Fulton County Jail, had a sexual relationship while Risby was working as a nurse at the jail, officials say.(Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

A former Fulton County jail nurse is accused of having a sexual relationship with an inmate and sending him letters detailing “her enjoyment of sex with him,” according to a Fulton County Sheriff’s Office incident report. 

Aleah Risby, 23, was released from the Fulton County jail on a $7,500 signature bond late Thursday, Fulton County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said. She faces a charge of sexual assault by a law enforcement agency employee or agent who engages in sexual contact with an individual in custody. 

>> Read more trending news

Risby had been with Correct Care Solutions, the medical provider for the jail, for two months when authorities were told about the alleged relationship with inmate Jerrell Hopkins, officials said. Hopkins, 22, had been in jail on a slew of charges including aggravated assault, obstruction battery, possession of a firearm and false imprisonment, according to records. 

Lt. Deputy Sheriff Anthony Volley wrote in his report that he was given the letters Monday and interviewed Hopkins the next day. Hopkins confessed that he and Risby would have sexual intercourse in the far corner of the new intake area, according to the report

Hopkins also gave Volley a note from Risby indicating she wanted “to find a place where (they) can touch,” according to the report. Some of the letters revealed the two would also hug and kiss. It is not stated when the relationship began or if the two knew each other before Risby began her job at the jail. 

Authorities monitored conversations between Risby and Hopkins and arrested the former nurse, the report states. Risby opted not to make a statement to officials on the allegations. 

Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 3. 

Car thief suspects caught on camera arrested in same clothes in Springfield

Published: Friday, July 21, 2017 @ 9:23 PM

Car thief suspects caught on camera arrested in same clothes in Springfield

Two men caught on camera stealing a car in Richmond were still wearing the same clothes when they were arrested in Springfield, deputies said.

Richmond, Indiana, police on Tuesday notified the Clark County Sheriff’s Office that a stolen black Pontiac G6 could be in the Springfield area. A short time later, a deputy spotted the car near Springfield High School, according to the sheriff’s office.

>>READ: Clark County deputies stop man on I-70 accused of trafficking meth

The car was stopped at Home Road and Grube Street, and the four people inside were detained.

Images from Richmond police matched two of the occupants, identified as Allyn M. King, 18, and Israel R. Scott, 20, both of Springfield, deputies said.

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King and Scott were arrested and booked into the Clark County Jail on suspicion of felony receiving stolen property. Scott is no longer in the county jail, records show.