LIMA — Members of an Allen County jury deliberated for less than three hours Friday before returning guilty verdicts against a Lima man accused of inflicting serious physical harm upon his 2-year-old nephew.
Anthony Davenport was convicted on felony counts of felonious assault and endangering children and was immediately sentenced to 15 years in prison by Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed.
Davenport, 34, was indicted by an Allen County grand jury more than two years ago for allegedly causing the traumatic brain injury suffered by 30-month-old Kyler Skeens on the morning of March 21, 2017.
The endangering charge was in reference to a severe spanking Davenport admitted he had administered to the young boy one day earlier.
Even after the verdict was read, Davenport maintained his innocence.
“I crossed the line when I spanked him, but I didn’t beat the stuffing out of him,” the defendant told Reed. “I just got convicted of something I did not do. Just because I’m a big guy has no bearing on this …. it’s not right.”
Testimony in the week-long trial showed the young boy was near death when he was taken to Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center on the morning of March 21, 2017. A CT scan determined the youngster had suffered a traumatic brain injury, and the boy was subsequently LifeFlighted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
Medical experts testified that the brain injury suffered by the boy was the result of intentionally inflicted abuse and that the trauma that had occurred immediately before symptoms of the injury became evident.
The defense has suggested throughout the trial that the boy had suffered a series of injuries prior to March 21 that caused his condition to deteriorate that morning, but the jurors ruled otherwise.
Kyler Skeens and his brother, Xavier, have been adopted since the incidents that led to Davenport’s prosecution, and the boys’ adoptive mother addressed the court prior to sentencing. She said the young boy suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of the injuries he suffered and continues to wear a helmet at all times to protect an area of his head where a portion of the skull was removed.
“But he is the sweetest little boy. He is the light of our life and the light of everyone’s life who meets him,” the woman said. “Thank you to the jury.”
Reed sentenced Davenport to eight years in prison on the felonious assault charge and seven years on the endangering court, then ruled the terms to be served consecutively.
“This was just a few minutes away from a homicide,” the judge said.