WARREN - Court proceedings for two woman charged with child endangering in separate cases were continued on Tuesday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. One is accused of allowing her child to be abused and murdered, and the other is accused of letting her children be used for BB target practice in exchange for cigarettes.
Jennifer Light, 33, of North Park Avenue Extension, Bazetta, is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter, permitting child abuse, child endangering and four counts of obstructing justice. She remained at the Trumbull County Jail in lieu of a $250,000 bond. Her pretrial was reset for Oct. 8 before Judge Andrew Logan.
Colleen Stytle, 29, 1725 Larchmont Ave. N.E., Warren, faces four counts of child endangering, a third-degree felony; seven counts of misdemeanor child endangering and two counts of complicity to falsification. She remains at the county jail in lieu of $50,000. Her pretrial was rescheduled for Sept. 17.
Tribune Chronicle / Virginia Shank
Colleen Stytle, charged with child endangering, appears Tuesday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court with attorney Thaddeus Wexler.
The women remained quiet as news reporters questioned them as they, shackled together, walked from the courtroom to the elevator.
Light was arrested in June on a seven-count secret indictment for what investigators said was her role in the death of her 4-year-old son, Nicholas Partin. Her live-in boyfriend, Scott Henry Walker, 33, is facing charges of murder, child endangering and felonious assault in the case. He remains in the county jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond and is facing a maximum of life in prison.
Light could face more than 20 years if convicted on the charges, including the child endangering that alleges she ''recklessly created a substantial risk to the health or safety of the child by violating a duty of care, protection or support and this violation resulted in serious physical harm.''
An affidavit filed in the case claims Walker fatally punched the child in the stomach the night of June 14.
Bazetta police and firefighters were called to the home at 2910 N. Park Extension at 3:15 a.m. June 15 when family members said the boy wasn't breathing.
Partin died later that day at Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren. 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 on Nicholas' stomach near his belly button.
Light first told authorities that her son had been treated at a Warren hospital for drinking carpet cleaner. The mother later recanted on that account after Sofchek confirmed the boy had not been treated at a Warren hospital. Light then told detectives she saw Walker punch her son.
Although Walker denied striking Nicholas with a closed fist, he subsequently demonstrated for detectives how he struck the child with a backhanded blow, Sofchek said. The detective said he noticed a bruised and swollen knuckle on the back of Walker's right hand.
Light's 8-year-old son, Christopher, has since been removed from the home by the Trumbull County Children Services Board.
Reports state that Stytle allowed her children to be used as targets for BB gun practice in exchange for cigarettes. The charges involve girls ages 11, 9 and 3 and a 5 and 7-year-old boy, reports state.
Police were called to her home earlier this year but it not clear why. CSB officials have said they cannot talk about the case, and county prosecutors have provided little information about it.
Also charged in Stytle's case is Robert A. Branch, 25, of the same address, charged with four counts of felony child endangering. His bond was set at $20,00 and he is to appear Sept. 18 before Judge W. Wyatt McKay. He was released from the county jail after posting bond.
A third defendant, Joseph Boone, 25, who lives at the same address, is charged with four felony counts of endangering and three misdemeanor counts. He remains at the county jail in lieu of $20,000.
Tribune Chronicle newspartner WYTV 33 News contributed to this report.