Jury sees police interview in child endangerment trial

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple Carlisa Davis, 19, who is on trial on child endangering charges, listens to testimony Wednesday afternoon in the courtroom of Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay. The video of her interview with Warren police was played for the jury.

WARREN —  The mother of two small children who ingested heroin admitted to a police detective Feb. 2 that she knew drugs were being sold out of the Randolph Street home in which she and her family lived.

The video of defendant Carlisa Davis’ interview with Warren police detective Nicholas Carney was played Wednesday afternoon for the Trumbull County jury deciding her fate on charges of endangering children.

The trial in Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay’s courtroom is to continue this morning with the defense’s cross-examination of Carney, the lead investigator in the case.

If found guilty of the felony charges, Davis, 19, could face a maximum of six years in prison.

Assistant Prosecutor Diane Barber played the hourlong video of the interview, which was conducted shortly after Davis’ children — 21-month-old Danae Davis and 9-month-old Cayden Perry — had to be revived with the narcotic antidote Naloxone at Trumbull Memorial Hospital Feb. 2 after they ingested heroin at the Randolph Street home.

In the video, under questioning from Carney, Davis admitted she was asleep when the children ingested the drug. She said she was awakened by her brother, who told the young mother the oldest child had gotten into the “food.”

Carney later testified that “food” is the current street name for heroin.

During the videotaped interview, Davis admitted that she had seen her son Cayden sitting in a pile of powder that was gathered under the kitchen table. The video showed Davis speculating that her daughter reached up to grab the drug off the table and then dropped it and later, the son, who was following his sibling, picked it up.

In the video, Davis said her daughter was taken to Trumbull Memorial Hospital by her father after the girl became drowsy and started breathing hard, like it was an “asthma attack.” Davis told Carney she drove separately with her son in a car seat. When they got to the hospital, Davis said she noticed her son was slumped over and displaying the same breathing symptoms as his sister.

Davis told Carney she and her children had been living at the Randolph Street home for about four months and she knew that her two brothers and friends were selling drugs out of the house.

Carney later testified that evidence found at the house also showed signs of drug activity there.

“There were ripped baggie tops and when drug dealers want to destroy evidence, they head for the toilet,” Carney said.

In testimony Tuesday, Warren police detective Eric Laprocina said he found an unknown plastic substance and brown paper in the bathroom toilet bowl, which was taken for testing by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI)  lab in Richfield.

Also testifying Wednesday was BCI forensic scientist Scott Miller, who had tested residue from a digital scale and a plastic baggie taken from the Randolph Street home. Miller said the residue from the scale tested positive for heroin or Fentanyl, while the residue from the baggie tested negative for controlled substances.

In cross examination, defense attorney Michael Scala said an earlier test of residue from the scale had showed a trace of cocaine. Miller admitted it had tested positive for cocaine but determined the amount was so small, he didn’t report it.

“Isn’t that like being a little bit pregnant?” Scala asked.

Also testifying Wednesday was Lt. Tyler James of the Warren Fire Department, who was called to the Randolph Street home to test for carbon monoxide. He said his original test of the home Feb. 2 showed the carbon monoxide levels  there to be above the safe standard, so he called in the gas company for further testing.

Scala questioned James whether he didn’t trust his own testing materials, but James said the gas company had better equipment that showed the carbon monoxide level in the home to be safe.

Toxicologist Michelle Bestic of Akron Children’s Hospital also testified about her tests of the children 24 hours after the incident. Her findings confirmed that both children had ingested opiates.

The jury of six men and six women is expected to get the case either later today or early Friday.