EATON — A 22-year-old Preble County mother will be sentenced next week for causing serious physical harm to her then-four-month-old daughter in January.
Holly Gray-Lapple, was convicted by a Preble County jury of knowingly causing serious physical harm to her 4-month-old daughter, Ellie Alcorn, on June 18. The jury convicted Gray-Lapple on charges of felonious assault and endangering children, according to Preble County Prosecuting Attorney Marty Votel.
The State of Ohio was represented at trial by Votel. Gray-Lapple was represented by attorney Kirsten Knight.
Judge Stephen R. Bruns presided. Sentencing in the case is scheduled for Tuesday, July 9, in Preble County Common Pleas Court.
On Jan. 17, according to Votel, Gray-Lapple brought her daughter Ellie to the Preble County Emergency Room reporting Ellie had experienced a seizure.
“The defendant reported the symptoms had occurred out-of-the-blue; she denied knowing what had caused bruises on the child’s forehead and eye-lids,” Votel reported. “The child was transferred to Dayton Children’s Hospital (DCH) where the mother repeated this history to DCH staff and to Det. Shane Hatfield of the Preble County Sheriff’s Office.”
While at DCH, Ellie was diagnosed with a skull fracture, multiple bruises on her brain, multiple brain “bleeds,” a collapsed lung, and multiple unexplained bruises on her face and back, Votel said in a press release. “When confronted with these injuries, Ms. Gray-Lapple suddenly recalled an incident from that morning where she had ‘accidentally’ hit the child’s head against the wall in the kitchen,” Votel noted. “When asked why she had not reported this alleged ‘accident’ earlier, the mother reported that she had ‘forgot’ to mention it.”
At trial, the State of Ohio presented the testimony of Dr. Kelly Liker, the chief of the Child Advocacy Center at DCH.
Dr. Liker testified that the multiple bruises and bleeds were consistent with multiple blunt force trauma and/or incidents of severe “shaking” of the child.
“Given this, and other factors relevant to her diagnosis, Dr. Liker opined that that the injuries were not the result of one minor accident, but rather, the product of a series of inflicted injuries,” Votel reported.
The jury deliberated for approximately 45 minutes before returning its verdicts of guilty.
Gray-Lapple faces a prison term of between 2 and 8 years on the felonious assault charge, a felony of the second degree. She faces the same possible sentence on one charge of endangering children, which is also a felony of the second degree, and a prison term of up to three years on another charge of endangering children, which was included in the indictment against her, according to Votel.
“There is no greater treachery than that of a mother against her infant child. The evidence in this case proved to the jury’s satisfaction that the defendant inflicted serious physical harm upon her infant daughter. The state will be requesting of the Court a sentence befitting this shocking conduct,” Prosecutor Votel said.