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Published: Friday, 12/22/2006

No verdict in caged kids case

NORWALK, Ohio - The Huron County Common Pleas Court jury deliberating the case against parents accused of child endangering for forcing some of their adopted children to sleep in cages weighed evidence for 10 1/2 hours yesterday before ending their third day of deliberations.

The jury began its deliberations Tuesday afternoon following closing arguments in the cage against Michael and Sharen Gravelle and deliberated eight hours on Wednesday.

The Gravelles face identical charges of eight counts of child endangering, eight misdemeanor charges of child-endangering, and eight misdemeanor charges of child abuse.

The panel told Judge Earl McGimpsey they'd resume deliberations at 7:30 a.m. today.

The panel of seven men and five women took lunch inside the jury room for a second day, and sought no clarifications on issues, Court Administrator Linda Stower said.

Prosecutor Russ Leffler left yesterday for a trip to England to visit a daughter who is studying in London, leaving Daivia Kasper, an assistant prosecutor, in charge, court officials said.

If convicted, the Gravelles could be sentenced to one to five years in prison and fined up to $10,000 on each felony.

The children were ages 18 months through 14 years when they were removed from the home on Sept. 9, 2005. The Gravelles contend the enclosed beds were necessary for the children's safety because they would roam the house at night or fight with one another.

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