EATON — Preble County Common Pleas Judge David Abruzzo is expected to decide this week the fate of a Preble County woman whose two children died in a February house fire.
A two-day bench trial concluded Tuesday, Sept. 1 for Chastity J. Hall. Hall waived her right to a jury trial.
Hall’s attorney, Stephen Hobbs, made a motion for acquittal on the second day of the trial, but Abruzzo denied that request.
Hall, who did not testify during the trial, was indicted by a grand jury on Monday, April 6, on two counts endangering children, and four counts involuntary manslaughter.
The Preble County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Preble County Coroner’s Office and the State Fire Marshal’s Office investigated the fire which occurred on Saturday, Feb. 21, in West Alexandria and claimed the lives of Malachi Bradburn, 9 and Malea Bradburn, 10.
Law enforcement officials say, during the course of the investigation it was determined the two children were left alone at the residence by their mother, Hall, for an extended period of time. Prosecutors used various witnesses testimonies during the trial to demonstrate this.
Hall was not home at the time the fire occurred and it was only discovered the children may be in the home after she arrived at the residence and informed the fire department of their presence.
Hall pleaded “not guilty” during an arraignment held on Friday, April 10.
Also arrested was Arcadio B. Escobar, an ex-boyfriend of Hall. Escobar, of Richmond, Indiana, was charged with one count of “trespass in a habitation when a person is present or likely to be present,” a felony of the fourth degree. During the course of the initial investigation it was determined that on the night of the fire, Escobar was at the residence and was not known to have been at the property by Hall. Escobar was not charged in relation to the fire.
According to officials, an official cause of the fire was unable to be determined.