One of three women who admitted guilt in the beating death of 5-year-old Alexander Stephens in Middletown has been sentenced.
Ramona Bostian, 56, of Licking County, entered a guilty plea last month to obstruction of justice, a third-degree felony.
She was sentenced Monday morning to three years in prison by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens. She received the maximum sentence.
Bostian gave false information to authorities about what happened to Alexander Stephens, according to prosecutors.
Two other women, including the boy’s mother, have also admitted guilt in the child’s death.
Theresa Hawkins-Stephens, 26, the boy’s mother, pleaded guilty Aug. 12 to murder and two counts of child endangering. She faces 26 years to life in prison.
Rachel Bostian, 29, of Licking County, entered a guilty plea Aug. 5 to two counts of endangering children in addition to murder. She faces a maximum of 26 years to life in prison.
Rachel Bostian and Hawkins-Stephens are accused of tying up Alexander for about 22 hours on April 26 and, according to police, “severely” beating the boy on his head and body.
Ramona Bostian told the judge before sentencing that she had been threatened by her daughter, who had control of her social security disability money.
“I am sorry this all happened,” Ramona Bostian said. “They (Rachel Bostian and Hawkins-Stephens) controlled everything. They threatened me, told me they would kill me and leave me in the woods.”
Alexander and his 6-year-old brother Damyan were sleeping in a tent near the Great Miami River in Middletown with their mother and the Bostians, who told police they came to the area looking for work. The boys were found beaten in April in a room at the Parkway Inn in Middletown.
Ramona Bostian told the judge she was a babysitter for the boys and was responsible for getting them up and fed.
Rachel Bostian and Hawkins-Stephens began counting the food, which lead to the beating, she said.
According to court documents, the two boys were tied up with blankets for “stealing food.” Rachel Bostian and Hawkins-Stephens beat them with their hands, a belt and a stick, according to prosecutors.
Alexander Stephens’ death certificated from the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office lists his cause of death as “blunt impacts of head, torso, and extremities with skull fractures and subdural hemorrhage.”
The autopsy report obtained by this news outlet lists 39 injuries to the head, 12 injuries to the torso, 32 injuries to the upper extremities and 34 injures to the lower extremities. Some of the injures to the head and torso overlapped and were “too numerous to count,” according to the autopsy report.
“This court cannot overstate how heinous this crime was … I don’t know that any human being will ever understand this,” the judge said before handing down his sentence.
He added that he did not know how anyone could allow children to be beaten without trying to risk their own life to save them.
The judge also pointed out that Ramona Bostian continued to be less than truthful about the crime when questioned by detectives.
Damyan’s injuries were not life-threatening and he is recovering, according to police and prosecutors. He also suffered from severe malnutrition that resulted in severe growth deficiencies that required hospitalization, according to Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Kelly Heile.
Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.