Man charged with dumping body of Middletown woman waives jury trial

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Man charged with dumping body of Middletown woman waives jury trial

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Joshua Swenson, charged with tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse, has wavied his right to a jury trial. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

One of two people charged with dumping a woman’s body in the woods following her apparent overdose has waived his right to a jury trial.

Joshua Swenson and Erica Robinson, both of 2912 Wilbraham Rd., were indicted in September for tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse, both felonies.

Swenson, 28, was in Butler County Common Pleas court Monday for a pre-trial hearing, at which he signed away his right to a jury trial. That means Judge Michael Oster will hear the evidence and render a verdict.

The trial is scheduled to begin Thursday, but Swenson will be back in court for one final pre-trial hearing on Wednesday afternoon. He was free on bond, but that was revoked last week for a violation of his pre-trial release, and he is now in the Butler County Jail.

Robinson, 32, is scheduled for trial on Feb. 22. She remains free on bond.

Family members of 20-year-old Leslie Dalton, the woman who overdosed in the Wilbraham Road residence, filled the front row of Judge Michael Oster’s courtroom again Monday wearing “Justice for Leslie” shirts.

Both Robinson and Swenson told Middletown police that Dalton overdosed in their house and they waited until night before putting her body in a wheelbarrow, covering it with a sheet and then pushing her body across the street to a wooded area.

Dalton, who had reportedly been missing since July 27, was found dead in a dry creek bed Aug. 13. Her body was badly decomposed, police said.

Robinson said she moved Dalton’s body and did not call police because she did not want to get a nuisance letter from the city, according to a Middletown City Jail booking report.

Dalton, who attended Middletown City Schools, had a drug problem, her mother previously told this news outlet. She wanted to move her daughter away from Middletown, away from the bad influences in her life, her mother said.

After Dalton was released from jail, she was “doing so good,” her mother Rebecca Charlton previously said.

Then she returned to drugs.

“She made a mistake and relapsed,” her mother said. “Once she got a taste of it, it was back on.”

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