Springboro man faces third trial connected to 2-year-old’s death

A Springboro man is expected to testify later this month during his third trial on charges stemming from a traumatic brain injury that badly injured and eventually killed a 2-year-old boy, according to authorities.

The murder trial of Jason W. Milby, 36, is scheduled to begin on June 24 in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

Milby was near his early release date after serving most of an 8-year sentence for child endangering in the shaken-baby case when he was indicted last year on two counts of murder stemming from the victim’s death in 2016.

“He intends to testify,” defense lawyer Maxwell Kinman said during a hearing Tuesday setting the stage for the trial. “Explain to the public exactly what happened.”

The case is Springboro’s only homicide since 2002, according to Police Chief Jeff Kruithoff.

It would be Milby’s first murder trial, but third trial in the case.

He has maintained his innocence.

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One jury was unable to reach a verdict, prompting Judge Robert Peeler to declare a mistrial on child endangering and felonious assault charges.

In the second trial, Milby was convicted of child endangering in 2013 and sentenced to the maximum prison term by Peeler.

“I find your conduct reprehensible…” Peeler said during the sentencing. “It is an injustice that I can sentence someone to life for taking the life of another, but there is an eight-year maximum in a case like this, where a child’s life has been taken away with the exception of being able to breathe.”

So far, Peeler has ruled against the defense in a series of motions, including one claiming Milby will be a victim of double jeopardy if tried for murder after being imprisoned for child endangering in the case.

Perhaps most importantly, Peeler ruled he was “inclined” to let prosecutors use Milby’s statements in a 2015 motion for early release. The judge denied the motion.

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On Dec. 3, Kinman urged Peeler to exclude the June 29, 2015, motion for judicial release, claiming its use would violate Milby’s constitutional protections against self incrimination.

“I accept fully my action of the day this crime was committed, I am often left to ask myself ‘What kind of man would commit the crime I committed that day?” Milby said in the early-release filing.

Kinman also said it should be excluded because Milby was showing remorse, as required to win early release.

Peeler also advised the lawyers that evidence related to the previous conviction on the lesser felony need not to be revisited.

The judge also denied as “premature” a motion filed by Milby, rather than his lawyers, to restrain “jail personnel, officers, and inmates” from discussing the case with Milby without his lawyers present.

Peeler also ruled the victim’s children’s services records should remain confidential, except when Kinman describes them to Milby.

Milby is being held in the county jail in Lebanon, pending the trial.

Milby’s wife and family supported him during the previous trials. Members of his family expressed support for him last week and attended the hearing.

MORE: Justices unlikely to upset double jeopardy rule

Prosecutors allege Milby caused the death of his then-fiance’s son, Bryce Shannon, on July 14, 2011, at a home on Blose Circle in Springboro. Milby was baby-sitting the victim and two siblings.

On Tuesday, Peeler overruled Milby’s motion for new lawyers.

“I’m satisfied Mr. Milby is receiving excellent representation,” Peeler said.

In addition to Kinman, Milby is represented by lawyer Jennifer Getty.

Assistant County Prosecutor Julie Kraft, who handled the earlier trials, is handling the case with Assistant Prosecutor Sarah McMahon.

A final pretrial conference is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12. The trial is scheduled for four days, beginning on Monday, June 24.

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