Pair's Ohio trial starts over girl in basement

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A father and stepmother suspected of locking a 12-year-old girl in a basement for weeks have gone on trial in southwest Ohio.

The bench trial for 40-year-old Shawn Blackston and 37-year-old Joanna Blackston of Middletown began today in Butler County Juvenile Court in Hamilton. A court official says they are each charged with child endangering and could get up to six months in jail if the judge finds them guilty.

They were arrested in July after authorities said they found the girl in the family’s basement, apparently dirty and underweight.

Authorities said she allegedly was confined as punishment for weeks this summer with a dirty mattress to sleep on. She’s in foster care, as are five other children who lived with the couple. Their ages range from 2 to 15.

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