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Published: Friday, 4/17/2009

Mom guilty in tot's death

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A tearful Mallissa Lusk admitted in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday that the extensive bruising on her 3-year-old daughter should have caused her to stand up to the man charged with causing her little girl's death.

"I'm pleading guilty because I did see bruises on my daughter and trusted the excuses that were given to me," she told Judge Denise Ann Dartt yesterday. "As a parent, I should have done something."

Lusk, 27, of 907 Homer Ave. pleaded guilty to one count each of involuntary manslaughter and endangering children. Because the charges are related to the same incident, the sentences will be melded. She faces up to 10 years in prison.

As part of the plea agreement, the prosecutor's office will recommend up to five years in prison.

Lusk and her former live-in boyfriend, Troy Semenovich, were charged in the death of Lusk's daughter, Kaycie Bork, 3, who died Oct. 23 in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. The toddler's death was ruled a homicide.

Semenovich, 26, is charged with aggravated murder and faces up to life in prison if convicted. He is accused of hitting the girl, causing severe head injuries. Authorities said Kaycie, who is not Semenovich's biological daughter, had extensive bruising on her body and head when she was brought into the hospital.

He is slated to go to trial on the charge Monday.

Yesterday, with several members of her family in the courtroom, Lusk answered questions about how her children had been treated by Semenovich. She admitted that she was aware of abuse, including a punishment that included her young children standing in the corner with their arms in the air for an extended period of time.

She said she was also aware that Semenovich singled out the 3-year-old.

Assistant County Prosecutor Jeff Lingo questioned whether she knew that her children had seen Semenovich hold Kaycie's head in a sink while running the water over her face.

He also asked whether she knew that those same children said Lusk was home when this occurred.

She answered yes.

On Oct. 20, Mr. Lingo said that Lusk arrived home to find the toddler not breathing and having seizures.

"From about 10 til 3 to almost 3:20 p.m., no aid was summoned for your daughter?" Mr. Lingo asked. "No one called 911 or summoned for emergency aid?"

"No," Lusk answered.

Kaycie was disconnected from the ventilator Oct. 23. Authorities believe she had been brain dead during her time in the hospital.

Judge Dartt referred Lusk to the Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center for evaluation. She set a May 18 sentencing date.

After the hearing, attorney Sol Zyndorf said that there was no bruising found on Lusk's five other children - one who was fathered by Semenovich. The children, he added, are all in the care of family.

"She's extremely sorry," he said. "She was very despondent during most of this case. She didn't realize what was going on when it happened."

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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