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Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2019 @ 4:58 PM
LEBANON — Jurors found a Springboro man guilty of murder Wednesday of killing a boy who died in 2016, six years after a traumatic brain injury the man was previously convicted of causing.
Judge Robert Peeler sentenced Jason Milby, 36, to 15 years to life in prison. The decisions came on the third day of Milby’s trial in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
“I hope you rot for what you put my son through,” the boy’s mother said in a statement read by a victim’s advocate. “Your actions will forever invade my dreams.”
When he was indicted in this case, Milby was near his early release date from prison after being convicted of causing 2-year-old Bryce Shannon’s brain injury in July 2011 while babysitting him and his siblings outside their home on Blose Circle in Springboro.
The jury began deliberations about noon Wednesday after hearing closing statements and deliberated about four hours.
“I didn’t do this,” Milby said after the verdicts.
In closing statements, Maxwell Kinman, Milby’s lead lawyer, urged the jury to find Milby not guilty, claiming prosecutors failed to prove he was responsible for the boy’s death in 2016.
“Their case is not complete,” he said.
Prosecutors pointed to Milby’s conviction and evidence presented during the trial as justification for a murder conviction.
“Jason Milby hasn’t been brought to justice yet for what he did to Bryce,” Assistant County Prosecutor Travis Vieux said.
Milby was already serving eight years in prison after being convicted on charges of felonious assault and child endangering for causing the brain injury.
On Tuesday, he took the witness stand to explain how the boy’s head accidentally hit the concrete while they were playing.
Milby said he never before told the story out of fear and on the advice of his lawyers in two earlier trials, the second resulting in his conviction and imprisonment for child endangering and felonious assault.
Milby said he was throwing the boy up and down to get him “to cheer up” while he and the siblings Milby was watching were playing outside their home in Springboro.
‘“I slipped on the sidewalk and the grass, and we fell,” Milby said.”He hit the driveway.”
The children’s mother, Milby’s then-fiance, was tending to a pet death in the family. The couple was married, but the mother is now seeking a divorce, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors accused Milby of lying, comparing his testimony with previous statements, and called their expert witness, a child-abuse pediatrician from Jacksonville, Fla., to discredit Milby’s testimony.
“Anybody else you want to lie to today?” Vieux asked.
Dr. Randell Alexander of the University of Florida Jacksonville said the likely injuries from such a fall would have been different.
“I wouldn’t expect to see a serious brain injury, I could see a concussion,” Alexander testified.
The doctor also said the little boy would have been unable to eat nachos, pick out a juice or do other things afterward as described by Milby.
Under questioning from defense lawyer Maxwell Kinman, Alexander said, “there have been such instances” of such falls causing brain injuries.
It was Milby’s first murder trial, but third trial in the case.
One jury was unable to reach a verdict, prompting Peeler to declare a mistrial on child endangering and felonious assault charges.
In the second trial, Milby was convicted of child endangering in 2013 and sentenced to the maximum prison term by Peeler.