WARREN - A 33-year-old Bazetta mother pleaded guilty Tuesday to manslaughter charges in the June murder of her 4-year-old son and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the case against her boyfriend, who is accused of killing the boy.
Jennifer Light of 2910 North Park Extension, tried to hide from reporters behind her long brown hair while appearing before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan and while in the jury box awaiting her court appearance.
Light, who has been held in lieu of a $250,000 bond, also pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice besides the first-degree felony charge of involuntary manslaughter. Two other counts of obstructing justice and counts of permitting drug abuse and child endangering were dismissed in exchange for her plea.
Jennifer Light, left, pleads guilty Tuesday to charges of involuntary manslaughter in the June death of her 4-year-old son. Light’s attorney, Dan Keating, is at right.
Assistant county prosecutor Diane Barber said Light will most likely serve between five and 10 years in prison after she undergoes a pre-sentence investigation and after any testimony she might be called on to give in the trial of her boyfriend Scott Henry Walker, 34.
Walker, formerly of Champion before moving into the Bazetta home, remains in jail on accusations of fatally punching young Charles Nicholas Partin on June 14 and causing internal injuries. He is charged with murder, felonious assault and child endangering, and bond was set at $500,000.
He is scheduled to appear at an upcoming pre-trial Oct. 22 and a trial before Logan Nov. 12.
Walker faces a maximum of life in prison.
Bazetta police and firefighters were called to the home at 2910 N. Park Extension at 3:15 a.m. June 15, when family members said the boy wasn't breathing. Partin died later that day at Trumbull Memorial Hospital.
The Trumbull County Coroner's Office ruled the death a homicide by blunt force trauma to the abdomen. Bazetta Detective Joe Sofchek said he photographed a tear-shaped bruise on Nicholas' stomach near his belly button.
Light first told authorities that her son had been treated at a Warren hospital for drinking carpet cleaner. The mother later recanted on that account after Sofchek confirmed the boy had not been treated at a Warren hospital. Light then told detectives she saw Walker punch her son a day before he died.
Although Walker denied striking Nicholas with a closed fist, he subsequently demonstrated for detectives how he struck the child with a backhanded blow, Sofchek said. The detective said he noticed a bruised and swollen knuckle on the back of Walker's right hand.
Sofchek was assisted in the case by Detective Jolene Marcello of the Trumbull County Sheriff's Office.
Assistant county prosecutor Diane Barber said the obstructing charges against Light stem from her misleading authorities at first about her son drinking carpet cleaner. She said different accounts that weren't true told to different detectives and medical personnel were each considered separate counts.
Light's 8-year-old son, Christopher, was removed from the home by Children Services days after his brother died.