The 12th District Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Hanover Twp. woman who was found guilty last year of killing a 3-year-old girl she was babysitting.
Lindsay Partin, 37, was convicted of murder, involuntary manslaughter and four counts of child endangering in April 2019. Hannah Wesche, whom Partin babysat, collapsed at Partin’s Shank Road residence on March 8, 2018 and later died.
Partin, through her appellate attorney, Neal Schuette of the Rittgers and Rittgers law firm, was seeking to overturn her conviction. In August, the appellate court heard oral arguments and issued a decision on Monday.
After the eight-day trial in Butler County Common Pleas Court, the jury deliberated 12 hours before finding Partin guilty on all charges. She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 18 years.
The appeal filed in October said there were alleged legal errors. It claims that Partin’s case was prejudiced when the prosecution failed to disclose some facts and that she received constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel.
During seven days of testimony, the jury heard Partin’s confession to slapping and hitting the toddler in the days leading up to March 8, then shaking her on that day. She also said the 3-year-old had a couple of falls that caused the bruising observed by the doctors, coroner and EMTs.
Doctors gave testimony about how long the child could have been walking, talking and acting normally after the fatal head injury. Doctors who treated and observed Hannah at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital said she would not have been able to function within seconds or minutes.
The forensic pathologist who performed Hannah’s autopsy said she suffered deep bruising to the back of her head. She also had a hemorrhage to the optic nerve and “tremendous brain damage.”
The prosecution’s doctor said Hannah’s death was a homicide and the toddler would not have been normal within “a couple moments” of receiving the injury.
A defense forensic pathologist testified Hannah could have had a lucid interval after the injury. He said other bruising in the skull was caused by the brain swelling after the injury.
Hannah was with Partin for only a short time on March 8, 2018, before she collapsed. The defense said the the injury could have been caused by her father, Jason Wesche, who dropped her off that morning, or a fall.
On appeal, Schuett said the state should have disclosed to the defense that Jason Wesche had a friend staying at his home on March 7, 2018, and that he “lied to investigators that he did not go to Walmart with Hannah Wesche to get milk on March 7, 2018, and that he lied to investigators for over a year.”
At trial, the defense highlighted inconsistencies in Jason Wesche’s testimony when he testified.
The appeal argues that Partin’s counsel was ineffective by not filing a motion to suppress her interrogation statements to investigators and failing to object, or even ask for a continuance, when they were surprised by undisclosed information by the state.
But the state argued in a response filed in January that the testimony from experts and confessions from Partin support the convictions.
In the decision, written by Judge Robert Ringland, the appeals court found the state submitted sufficient evidence to convict and that Partin’s conviction was supported by manifest weight of the evidence, noting that she and Jason Wesche agreed Hannah was acting normally upon drop-off, that Partin admitted shaking, squeezing, and dropping Hannah and medical evidence indicated that Hannah’s injuries would have rendered her unresponsive.
Schuett said he will discuss with Partin and her family the option of appealing to the Ohio Supreme Court.
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