LIMA — A witness called to the stand during a motion hearing Thursday in Allen County Common Pleas Court bore little resemblance to most who find themselves in a court of law.
This one could barely see over the top of the railing that surrounded his seat, but that didn’t stop him from eliciting heartfelt smiles and laughter from nearly everyone in the courtroom. The 8-year-old boy who found himself in very adult surroundings on Thursday handled the situation with a wisdom seemingly beyond his years as he answered questions from Judge Terri Kohlrieser calmly and confidently.
The young boy unwittingly was the central figure in the hearing involving his mother, Ashli Martin, who is charged with felonious assault for allegedly stabbing a man and sending him to the hospital for treatment.
According to court records, Martin, 28, got into an altercation surrounding child visitation last December with Stanley Turner, the father of Martin’s 9-year-old daughter, at a Bikini Drive residence in Lima.
The argument turned physical when Martin struck Turner in the face, according to police, and accelerated when Martin reportedly retrieved two kitchen knives from her vehicle and stabbed Turner in the chest and shoulder. Turner was treated at a local hospital for three knife wounds before being released.
Martin’s young son found himself in court on Thursday for a hearing to determine his competency to be a witness at trial.
The motion, filed by defense attorney Chima Ekeh, said that in determining whether a child under the age of 10 is competent to testify, the court must consider the child’s ability to differentiate truth and falsity, to receive accurate impressions of fact, to communicate what has been observed and to appreciate his or her responsibility to be truthful.
Kohlrieser asked the boy about school, his favorite subject (it’s science), whether his first-grade teacher or his second-grade teacher is his favorite (he likes them equally well) and what happens at home if he tells a lie (video games are withheld).
Satisfied that the youngster “is a very smart little boy who has the ability to understand the importance of truthfulness” Kohlrieser ruled him competent to testify as needed in the case.
Martin is scheduled to stand trial on Aug. 16.