Charges: Man kills 4-year-old

WARREN – A 33-year-old Bazetta man was being held in lieu of $500,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing June 26 after prosecutors charged him Tuesday with murdering the 4-year-old son of his live-in girlfriend.

Scott Henry Walker appeared only briefly in front of Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan on a felony murder charge in connection with the death of young Charles Nicholas Partin, who was known as Nicholas.

An affidavit in support of a prosecutor’s complaint accuses Walker of fatally punching the youngster in the stomach Friday evening. His mother heard him say, ”Ouch,” and double over in pain.

Bazetta police and firefighters were called to the home at 2910 N. Park Extension at 3:15 a.m. Saturday when family members said the boy wasn’t breathing. A dispatcher told responders that the child had ingested carpet cleaner the previous afternoon.

The responders found the boy on an island counter in the kitchen. CPR was performed on Nicholas until a rescue unit transported him to Trumbull Memorial Hospital.

Partin died Saturday in the hospital. The Trumbull County Coroner’s Office ruled the death a homicide by blunt force trauma to the abdomen. Bazetta Detective Joe Sofchek said he photographed a tear-shaped bruise found on Nicholas’ stomach near his belly button.

The boy’s mother, Jennifer Light, first told authorities early Saturday morning that her child had been treated at a Warren hospital for drinking carpet cleaner on Friday. The mother later recanted on that account after Sofchek confirmed no treatment at St. Joseph Health Center.

Assistant county prosecutor Diane Barber said she had no comment on whether any charges are being considered against Light for misleading authorities. Sofchek said any confirmation on whether the child actually drank carpet cleaner would have to wait for results from toxicology tests.

According to the affidavit, the boy’s mother on Monday then told Sofchek and an investigator with the Trumbull County Child Homicide Investigation Unit that she witnessed Walker punch Nicholas on Friday.

Walker was arrested in Packard Park on Monday evening and was interviewed by Sofchek and Cortland Detective David Morris with Cortland police and the Child Homicide unit.

After Walker insisted that Nicholas drank carpet cleaner, he was informed of the exact cause of death before Walker exclaimed, ”I didn’t mean to do it,” according to the affidavit.

Although Walker denied striking Nicholas with a closed fist, he subsequently demonstrated how he struck the child with a backhanded blow. Sofchek said he noticed a bruised and swollen knuckle on the back of Walker’s right hand.

Walker, who lived in the home with Light, Nicholas and his 8-year-old brother Christopher, and Light’s grandparents, was released from Northeast Ohio Community Alternative Program in January after being charged with a probation violation in September when he flunked more than one drug screen.

He was on probation after pleading guilty March 3, 2012, to attempted carrying a concealed weapon and was placed on five years probation by Judge Peter Kontos.