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Published: Tuesday, 1/6/2009

Stepdad guilty of child endangering


Alexander Schneider didn't have a criminal past, but his handling of his wife's newborn led him into handcuffs and may put him in prison.

Schneider, 24, of 1230 Barrows St., pleaded no contest yesterday to one count of felony child endangering.

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Charles Doneghy found him guilty, and he faces up to eight years in prison at sentencing Jan. 29.

Because he has no criminal record, prosecutors will recommend a three-year cap on any prison time.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tim Braun said that Schneider's 5-week-old stepdaughter was taken to Toledo Hospital July 11 because she was vomiting. Doctors could not determine at first what was wrong with the infant, but discovered bruising on her body.

Mr. Braun said, "They then determined that the baby had three broken bones" - a wrist, a rib, and a leg bone.

The child's mother, who was pregnant with her at the time of her marriage to Schneider, said that only the couple had been with the baby prior to her being taken to the hospital, Mr. Braun said.

After being interviewed by Lucas County Children Services and Toledo police, Schneider admitted squeezing the baby's legs together while changing her diaper, resulting in the break of the leg bone.

He also said that he had hit the child on the back to make her burp, an action investigators said led to the broken rib.

Mr. Braun said that Schneider's frustration while trying to wrap the child in a blanket led him to handle her roughly, breaking the wrist bone.

The baby's mother was not in court yesterday. Authorities said the child remains in the custody of her mother, who has since moved out of Toledo.

Defense attorney Anthony Spinazze declined to comment further on the case yesterday.

Mr. Braun said he understands the frustrations of caring for a newborn but cautioned that those who let their anger flare can easily end up in court.

"That's the fine line that separates the defendant from others," Mr. Braun said, adding that the baby was truly a helpless victim.

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