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GIRARD Couple faces endangering charges; county takes custody of children



Published: Thu, February 14, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Two of the couple's children have died.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD -- A Girard couple on probation for the 1999 suffocation death of their infant daughter are again facing child endangering charges.

Cindy Kelly, 40, and her husband, Brian Kelly Sr., 35, of 510 N. State St., were charged Wednesday in Girard Municipal Court.

Police Capt. Frank Bigowsky filed the charges after conferring with Trumbull County Children Services.

Bigowsky said the county agency took custody of the couple's son, Brian Kelly Jr., 4, and Mrs. Kelly's children from a previous marriage, Nicole Stevens, 11, and Roxanne Stevens, 12.

The couple were released after each posted $5,000 bonds. Judge Michael Bernard set a preliminary hearing for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Brian Jr. was injured Friday after he was struck by a van when he stepped into North State Street from behind a utility pole.

Infant's death: The Kellys were indicted in November 1999 by a Trumbull County grand jury in the death of their 3-month-old daughter, Leeann, who died July 28 of that year.

Brian Kelly was charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangering. Mrs. Kelly was indicted on a charge of child endangering.

On Feb. 15, 2000, Brian Kelly pleaded guilty to child endangering and was sentenced to six months in the Northeast Ohio Community Alternative Program, a Warren facility for nonviolent offenders, and placed on five years' probation. A week later, his wife was sentenced to a six-month suspended jail term and placed on two years' probation.

Police and prosecutors said at the time that Mrs. Kelly allowed her husband to sleep on the couch with the infant, even though she knew her husband had consumed 12 or more cans of beer.

Kelly admitted he rolled onto his daughter, suffocating her.

The death of Leeann was a contributing factor in the latest charges' being filed, Bigowsky said.

"It sort of raised some red flags. We'll err on the side of caution," he said.

1996 death: Another of the Kellys' sons, also named Brian Kelly, died Oct. 5, 1996.

The Trumbull County Coroner's Office originally ruled his death the result of pneumonia, but that was changed after Leeann's death to "positional asphyxia," which means someone rolled on top of the child.

No charges have been filed in that death.

yovich@vindy.com




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