By Wayne Gates
Donald Martin has been found not guilty of Reckless Homicide in the death of his step-grandson in November of 2017.
Common Pleas Judge Scott Gusweiler made the ruling on Sept. 17, ending a bench trial that began with both sides submitting exhibits and closing arguments in late August.
Martin was accused of restraining 11 year old Dylan Davis against a couch until he suffocated.
“Based on the stipulated exhibits, there is no doubt that the actions of the Defendant were the proximate cause of the death of Dylan Martin-Davis. The question is whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt as to the element of recklessness,” wrote Gusweiler in the decision.
He continued in part, “There is no evidence in the record that shows that the Defendant had any knowledge of a substantial risk of death or serious injury that would probably result from restraining the decedent in that manner…Based upon the evidence, the case law, statutory law and the arguments of counsel, the Court finds that there is reasonable doubt as to the element of recklessness. Therefore, the Court enters a verdict of Not Guilty.”
According to information released by the Brown County Sheriff’s Department in November of 2017, a life squad was called to Martin’s home at 6:40 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17. The caller told dispatchers that an 11 year old boy at that location had been having a temper tantrum, passed out and was experiencing shallow breaths. When the life squad arrived, the found the child unresponsive.
He was taken to Mt. Orab Mercy, where he was pronounced dead.
He pleaded guilty to one count of Reckless Homicide on April 26 and was scheduled to be sentenced on May 31.
Instead, Bruce Wallace, Martin’s attorney, asked Gusweiler for permission to file a motion to withdraw Martin’s guilty plea, which Gusweiler granted.
“Mr. Martin and his family still believe that this was a tragic accident and that his actions on that day are not something should deserve incarceration. He is electing to go forward with his right to a trial and have a court make that determination,” said Wallace back in April.
Samuel Davis, the father of the victim, said in April that he was very frustrated by what happened in the courtroom.
“I was wanting to see the sentencing and that was going to be the end of this case so we could close the book and move on with our lives. This is beyond frustrating. I’m angry. I’m waiting to close to book and move on and it seems that this is going to continue into the future,” Davis said.