A videotape shot on a cell phone captured an East Toledo couple assaulting and screaming at the 3-year-old, 30-pound girl they had adopted.
In Lucas County Common Pleas Court Tuesday, Joshua and Courtney Waxler, both 25, who now live at 739 Western Ave., each entered Alford pleas to one count of endangering children for the February, 2012, incident in their Seaman Street home.
In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit to committing a crime but acknowledges evidence is sufficient for a conviction. The court treats it as a guilty plea.
J. Christopher Anderson, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, told the court that in February, 2012, a relative of the Waxlers placed a cell phone under a bed, recording an incident with two children of Joshua Waxler’s brother, whom the couple had adopted.
Mr. Anderson said the video shows Joshua Waxler walking into the room, yelling at the 3-year-old girl for placing paper in a vent, and ordering her to put out her hands. When she does so, he strikes her hands with a tennis shoe.
“He then strikes her at least 10 more times all over her body, knocking her to the floor,” Mr. Anderson said.
Then Courtney Waxler entered, he said, yelling profanities and slapping the 3-year-old, again knocking her to the floor.
Andrew Schuman, attorney for Joshua Waxler, said the two children were taken from the couple. Their three biological children are in the custody of Lucas County Children Services, he said.
The Waxlers each face up to three years in prison when they are sentenced April 23 by Judge Myron Duhart, who said he would view the videotape before sentencing.
As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to ask that a second charge of endangering children be dismissed at sentencing. The original charge was reduced from a second-degree felony to a third-degree felony in part because a doctor had not seen the victim until two months after the video was shot.
“It was a delay in reporting, so I couldn’t establish serious physical harm had been inflicted,” Mr. Anderson said after the hearing.