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GIRARD Grand jury to mull case of dad held in beating



Published: Thu, September 27, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



An acting judge refused to lower the bond for Bobby Lee Craven.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD -- A 24-year-old Girard man has been bound over to a Trumbull County grand jury on a charge of child endangering.

Bobby Lee Craven of Trumbull Avenue waived his right to a preliminary hearing before acting Judge Kurt Latell in Girard Municipal Court.

Craven is accused of beating his 3-year-old son, Robert, who required hospitalization.

Girard police say he also is a suspect in the beating death of his 20-month-old son, Brandon.

Both boys were taken by relatives Sept. 17 to Forum Health Northside Medical Center. Brandon died two days later after being taken off life support.

Robert has been released from Tod Children's Hospital and is in the custody of Trumbull County Children Services.

Robert Kubiak, children services director, said Robert is in foster care.

During a brief appearance Wednesday before Judge Latell, Craven's attorney, Anthony Antonucci of the Trumbull County Public Defender's Office, asked that Craven's $500,000 bond be reduced.

The judge denied the request.

Antonucci said Craven has lived in the area all his life and being released from the county jail would allow him to get a job.

Craven told to the court he hasn't worked since August.

Police Capt. Frank Bigowsky said he sought the high bond last Wednesday because of the severity of the injuries to Brandon and because he believes Craven would flee.

The coroner's office ruled Brandon's death a homicide, saying the boy died of a head injury.

Brandon's case also was presented Wednesday to the grand jury. Bigowsky said he feels confident the grand jury will issue indictments.

Brandon was taken to the hospital by Craven's mother, Ethel Smeltzer.

Craven and the boys lived in a mobile home with Mrs. Smeltzer and her husband, John, who is Craven's stepfather.

The Smeltzers, who were in the courtroom Wednesday, declined to discuss the case.

yovich@vindy.com




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