State board rejects parole for abuser of young boy

WARREN — The Trumbull County prosecutor is praising a decision to keep behind bars a man who abused an 8-year-old boy, and arguing to keep a man convicted of murdering his mother and brother in 1983 behind bars.

Damion C. Wise, 40, Chillicothe Correctional Institution, was sentenced in 2010 to 10 years to life after he was convicted on charges of rape, endangering children and felonious assault.

The Ohio Parole Board on Monday declined to release Wise on parole. The man’s next hearing will be in November 2029.

Assistant Prosecutor Diane Barber wrote a letter to the parole board requesting Wise stay locked up.

“I personally prosecuted this case in 2009, and it is one that I will never forget. While (the victim’s) mother was at work, Wise would abuse and torture the child,” Barber wrote.

Police became involved when a concerned resident requested a welfare check and they found the boy had two black eyes, blood in his eye, facial swelling, difficulty walking, bruises on his back, chest, stomach and legs plus a large cut and bump on the back of his head.

“He was wearing a soiled diaper that (the victim said) Wise made him wear,” the letter states.

Wise also sexually assaulted the boy with a toothbrush, the letter states.

“Were it not for the concerned citizen who called police when she did, (the victim) most likely would have died from Wise’s abuse of him,” Barber wrote.

Brookfield police, Trumbull County Children Services and hospitals in Warren and Akron worked on the case.

Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins also is hoping the Ohio Parole Board refuses to release Van Gentry Fickes, 55, imprisoned in the North Central Correctional Institution.

His parole board hearing is scheduled for February. He was sentenced to 30 years to life, and has served 34 years.

In 1985, Fickes was convicted on two counts of murder for the deaths of Christine and Ronald Fickes, his mother and brother. The crimes were committed while Fickes was on probation for attempted breaking and entering, and under indictment for a breaking and entering charge.

Fickes also had a fascination with explosive devices, documents provided by Watkins’ office stated.

“Without question, this is one depraved, heartless killer that must not be given any opportunity to kill again. That can only be achieved by keeping him in prison,” Watkins states in a 2010 letter requesting the board prevent Fickes’ release.

“Also, guys who fantasize about making bombs don’t pass the smell test at this time in our history.”



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