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YOUNGSTOWN Bond denied for woman jailed in her son's death



Published: Sat, April 6, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Ohio law allows certain criminal defendants to be held without bond.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- An 18-year-old North Garland Avenue woman will be held without bond in the Mahoning County Jail while she awaits trial in the death of her infant son.

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of common pleas court ruled Friday that there appears to be enough evidence against Janell Thomas to warrant keeping her behind bars.

Thomas is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the October death of her 11-month-old son, Leroy Huff Jr. Authorities say the child suffered severe head injuries, including four skull fractures.

Thomas has said the baby fell off a bed and hit his head on the floor, but prosecutors believe she beat the child to death.

Defense attorney Mark Lavelle had asked that the $1 million bond set by Judge Theresa Dellick of juvenile court be reduced to a personal recognizance bond, meaning Thomas could be released from jail without having to pay any money.

Lavelle said Thomas cannot afford a cash bond of any amount.

Cites state law: In a written opinion released Friday, Judge Krichbaum said Ohio law allows people charged with a felony to be denied bond in cases "where the proof is evident or the presumption great."

Bond also can be denied if the defendant poses a risk of potential serious physical harm to the victim, a witness or the community.

In this case, Judge Krichbaum said the presumption against Thomas is great and that her release would pose a threat to her other child, who is being cared for by the children services agency.

Lavelle had asked that Thomas' May 8 trial date be moved ahead if the bond reduction was denied, but Judge Krichbaum also rejected that request.

Thomas has been in jail since Dec. 7 and is anxious to prove her innocence at trial, Lavelle said.

bjackson@vindy.com




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