Middletown body dumped: Judge not pleased with request for lower bond

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Middletown body dumped: Judge not pleased with request for lower bond

A judge had stern words today for one of two people who allegedly dumped a Middletown woman’s body in woods following an apparent overdose.

Erica Robinson, 32, and Joshua Swenson, 28, both of Middletown, waived their rights to preliminary hearings Monday afternoon in Middletown Municipal Court and their cases were sent to the Butler County Grand Jury.

Both are charged with tampering with evidence, abuse of a corpse, obstructing official business and permitting drug abuse, all felonies, according to Middletown police Lt. Scott Reeve.

They told police that Leslie Dalton, 20, of Middletown, overdosed in their Wilbraham Road house and they waited until night fall, put her body in a wheelbarrow, covered it with a sheet, and then pushed her body across the street to the woods.

Joshua Swenson, top left, and Erica Robinson, top right, allegedly dumped the body of Leslie Dalton (bottom) in woods near their home after Dalton overdosed. Staff Writer

Missing for two weeks, Dalton was found dead in a dry creek bed on Aug. 13 by her grandmother, Sally Hollon, and a friend. Her body was badly decomposed.

After keeping Swenson’s bond at $75,000, Middletown Municipal Court Judge Melynda Cook Howard told Robinson’s attorney, Morgan Kohler, she had “zero intention” of lowering Robinson’s bond.

“Be happy it’s not being increased,” the judge told the attorney.

Kohler said her client had no criminal record, had a 6-year-old daughter who was being cared for by her grandparents. She asked the judge to lower the bond.

“I’m not interested in lowering her bond,” the judge said. “The charges in this case are very serious. The ability to be so callous to someone who has died no matter the circumstances is something I will not tolerate.”

Then the judge addressed Robinson.

“You apparently didn’t care about your daughter that day. And you didn’t care about your elderly parents that day. You only cared about yourself. That’s what you’re going to care about while you’re sitting in jail.”

After the hearing, family and friends of Leslie Dalton applauded the decision and praised Cook Howard for keeping both bonds at $75,000.

An autopsy was conducted last week on Dalton’s body at the Butler County Coroner’s Office, according to administrator Martin Schneider. The cause of death is listed as “pending” by the coroner’s office.

Dalton’s mother, Rebecca Charlton, along with about 10 others, wore “Justice For Leslie” T-shirts during the hearing, and when Swenson and Robinson were led into the courtroom, one person held up a picture of Dalton.

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