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The mother of a 4-year-old Bazetta boy who authorities said was fatally struck by the woman’s live-in boyfriend was charged Tuesday for playing a role in the child’s death.
Jennifer Light, 33, of 2910 North Park Extension, was charged in a secret indictment unsealed Tuesday with first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, first-degree felony permitting child abuse, third-degree felony child endangering and four counts of third-degree felony obstructing justice.
Light pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. She is being held in the Trumbull County Jail on $250,000 bond.
The involuntary manslaughter and child abuse charges carry a 22-year maximum prison sentence.
Her boyfriend, Scott H. Walker, 33, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder, felonious assault and child endangering that allege he fatally punched Nicholas Partin, 4, in the stomach.
His bond of $500,000 was continued.
Partin’s great grandmother, Wanda Nussbaumer, said Tuesday at a flag-raising ceremony in Partin’s honor that she is devastated by his death.
“Nicholas was a very joyful, happy little boy,” she said.
Officials were called to Nicholas Partin’s home on June 15 because he was not breathing. Investigators found Partin lying on an island counter in the family’s kitchen. Emergency responders continuously tried to save Partin, who died at Trumbull Memorial Hospital.
Court records said a tear-drop shaped bruise was found on Partin’s stomach, near his bellybutton.
Light originally told police she took Partin to St. Joseph Health Center June 14 after he ingested carpet cleaner. An affidavit filed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court for Walker’s arrest says investigators confirmed Partin was never taken to the hospital.
Toxicology tests that will determine if Partin ingested chemicals is pending.
After the autopsy report ruled he was killed by blunt trauma, Light told investigators she saw Walker punch Partin in the stomach on June 14. Light told investigators Partin said “ouch” and doubled over in pain.
“Investigators then informed Walker of the cause of death and Walker exclaimed ‘I didn’t mean to do it,’” the affidavit says. “Although Walker denied striking Nicholas with a closed fist he subsequently demonstrated… he struck the child with a backhanded blow.”
Investigators noted Walker had a swollen knuckle on the back of his right hand.
The case is still under investigation, police said.
The boy’s brother, Christopher Partin, 8, was removed from the home by Children’s Services.
Walker, according to court records, is on probation for carrying a concealed weapon charge from Sept. 4, 2009. Records said he pleaded guilty in 2011 and was sentenced to five years probation. He violated probation in September, records say.