WARREN Girard man pleads guilty in death of infant son



In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors reduced the murder charge to involuntary manslaughter.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A 24-year-old Girard man has pleaded guilty to causing the death of his infant son.
Bobby Lee Craven of 703 Trumbull Avenue entered the pleas to one charge of involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault and two charges of child endangering.
He appeared Thursday before Judge John Stuard in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.
Craven, who is being held in the county jail under $500,000 bond, will be sentenced after a background check is completed by the county adult probation department.
Prosecutors said they are going to recommend that Craven serve nine years in prison.
Craven had been facing a murder charge, but prosecutors agreed to reduce that to involuntary manslaughter in exchange for his guilty plea.
Both children hurt: He was arrested by Girard police in September after his 20-month-old son, Brandon, was taken to Forum Health Tod Children's Hospital and his other son, Robert, 3, was found with injuries.
Brandon died Sept. 19.
Police said both children were beaten. Craven's mother took Brandon to the hospital Sept. 18, and Craven stayed at home with Robert. Later that day, relatives took Robert to the hospital.
Police said doctors found old and new bruises on his back, buttocks, face and legs. Robert is in the care of Trumbull County Children Services, officials said.
Mother was in jail: Authorities have said Craven was watching the boys in September because their mother was in the Mahoning County jail after pleading guilty to two counts of child endangering involving the boys.
Sandra Faye Smith, of Youngstown, was sentenced April 13 to six months in jail.
Craven and Smith are not married, officials said.
Youngstown police reported they were called to Smith's Franklin Avenue home after a neighbor alerted them that a child was walking alone outside in the snow.
The house was described by police as deplorable, littered with beer cans, dirty pots and pans, spilled trash and animal feces in front of the refrigerator, which contained beer, wine and a package of ground beef.

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