DARKE COUNTY - Scott Webber, 29, of Greenville, began his first day on trial Tuesday for the death of his 16-month-old daughter. Webber is charged with child endangerment, a felony of the third degree, and involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree.
The charges stem from an investigation indicating that Webber, along with Lauren K. Jones, 28, gave their daughter an over-the-counter sleep-aid, ZzzQuil, in February 2013. The young girl was found to have died of asphyxiation which could have been caused by the sleeping environment and/or medication.
Webber chose to waive his right to a trial by jury and instead chose to be tried by Judge Jonathan P. Hein of the Court of Common Pleas.
A number of officers initially responded to last year’s February emergency call pertaining to the girl, and were later called to offer testimony.
At one point during the trial, Darke County Sheriff Deputy Tom Nichols confirmed specific items which were found in the crib, which the prosecution claimed caused obstruction to the child’s breathing.
“This baby was in a really terrible sleep environment. She had a huge number of things thrown into the crib with her, blankets, scarves and blue jeans and toys and plush animals and pillows….,” said Prosecuting Attorney Kelly Ormsby.
The crux of the case was partially based on whether the child’s level of diphenhydramine, a common ingredient in sleep aids, could be definitively said to have contributed to the child’s death.
To provide insight on the topic, both the prosecution and defense summoned expert medical witnesses to provide their opinions, which included the testimony of Dr. Bryan D. Casto, Montgomery County Forensic Pathologist Deputy Coroner and Dr. Laureen Marinetti, Forensic Toxicologist at Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
“There will be a battle of the experts, your honor, to state what effect, if any, the diphenhydramine had to do with this child’s death,” said Defense Attorney David Rohrer.
The trial is scheduled to continue on today.