Judge rebukes Arthur Harper before sentencing for killing 3-year-old


Judith Owens asked Judge Peter Kontos to give Arthur Harper the maximum sentence for killing her 3-year-old son, Russell Cottrill, in 2015 at their home on High Street Northeast.

“Since Arthur took my son, I’ve not lived a single day without pain,” Owens told the judge Monday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court before Harper, 45, was sentenced.

Harper was convicted at trial last month of murder, child endangering and felonious assault.

Owens was at work the evening of Nov. 28, 2015, when Harper, her common-law husband, called 911 to tell a dispatcher that Russell became unresponsive in his bedroom while he was taking a nap. Harper initially said he didn’t know what caused the boy’s head and spinal injuries.

But after hours of interviewing at the Warren Police Department, Harper admitted he had injured the boy by using a professional wrestling move on him called a “pile driver.” Harper, who weighed more than 200 pounds at the time, told a detective he was “play rasslin’” with the boy at the time.

Harper explained he held Russell upside down with Russell’s head between Harper’s legs and Harper falling back onto the floor. It was about the fifth time he and Russell had done it that day, Harper said.

The boy suffered three separate injuries to his head, one of which would have stopped his breathing because of the damage it also caused to his spinal cord.

Judge Kontos said he actually had no leeway in the sentence he gave Harper – 15 years to life in prison.

Judge Kontos said the “most appalling thing in all of this is that the injuries that were caused here were not an accident.

Read more about the case in Tuesday's Vindicator or on Windy.com.

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