Antoinette Hairston lost one son to death, two other children were taken from her custody, and she will spend four years in prison - all a result of failing to protect her young son from ongoing beatings by her boyfriend and failing to get the boy the medical attention that may have saved his life.
Hairston, 25, of 1702 Ottawa Drive entered an Alford plea in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday to one count of involuntary manslaughter. A second charge of felony child endangering was dismissed.
Although the manslaughter charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, Judge Gene Zmuda imposed the four-year sentence that was negotiated as part of a plea agreement.
Assistant County Prosecutor Tim Braun said the agreement was reached because Hairston was not the one who inflicted serious injuries on 23-month-old Tayvon Reynolds. Instead, she was responsible for not taking the young boy to the hospital after he suffered weeks of abuse by her boyfriend, Mitchell Moore.
"The basis for plea bargain in this case is that Mitchell Moore was, in fact, the person who caused the death," Mr. Braun said. " We're not alleging that this woman caused the injuries, but it was her failure as a mother, as a parent, to get this child to the hospital."
Moore, 20, also of 1702 Ottawa, entered an Alford plea Sept. 25 to one count each of involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, and felony child endangering. In exchange for his plea, a murder charge will be dismissed at his Nov. 26 sentencing date. He faces up to 26 years in prison.
In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence or does not admit he committed a crime but pleads guilty because he has decided it's in his best interest. The court treats it as a guilty plea.
Mr. Braun said young Tayvon was 2 feet, 11 inches tall and 25 pounds when he died Dec. 26. Authori-ties were called to Toledo Hospital after doctors noticed that the child's injuries - including cuts on his wrists, a significant burn on his leg, and bruising, lacerations, and injuries to his head, chest, and back - were consistent with abuse.
According to the autopsy report, the toddler died as a combined result of dehydration, sepsis as a result of E-coli in his blood stream, and an internal infection caused by laceration to his bowels. Mr. Braun said the lacerations were a result of blunt trauma to the child's abdomen.
Mr. Braun said that when Hairston was interviewed by police, she admitted that she did not take her youngest son to the hospital because she feared that her other two children, ages 4 and 6, would be taken from her custody.
Assistant County Prosecutor Rob Miller called the matter a "sad situation for everyone involved," adding that Hairston failed her son many times because he was subjected to "ongoing abuse."
Myron Duhart, who represents Hairston, said his client understood that her choices have consequences, including the death of her son and prison time. He said she realizes that she should have paid more attention to Moore's actions and that she should have acted when she realized what was happening.
Hairston, who wiped tears from her eyes during the proceedings, said that she never intended to allow her son to be hurt. "I lost my son, and that's something I have to deal with for the rest of my life," she said. " I was with the wrong person. I trusted him, and he turned out to be evil."
Judge Zmuda noted that throughout the months Hairston appeared in his courtroom, she had a contingency of family members with her. Although no one was in the courtroom yesterday, the judge said the continual show of support proved that she had somewhere to turn when she needed help.
Judge Zmuda said Hairston's "gamble" that she could "finesse" the situation without getting her son appropriate medical care resulted in her losing all three of her children and her freedom.
"You will think of Tayvon and what would have been, what should have been, but what will never be because of your bad choices," he said.
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