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Men get home confinement for toddler incident

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two Kanawha County men, whom prosecutors accused of "choke slamming" a toddler onto a bed and breaking her leg, will each spend stints on home confinement.

On Wednesday, Kanawha Circuit Judge Charles King sentenced James Miller, 24, and Andrew Lee Young, 26, to nine and 18 months on home confinement, respectively. The sentences were for an unrelated incident in which the men applied the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner to the girl's hair.

Assistant Kanawha County prosecutor Rob Schulenburg asked the judge for jail time. The judge declined, believing that the men did not intend to hurt the girl.

"I just want to apologize for my acts and anything I was involved in," Young said. "Again, I just want to apologize for the stupidity on my part."

Miller and Young were originally indicted on felony charges of child abuse for a 2010 incident in which they were practicing wrestling moves on the girl and reportedly broke her femur.

Schulenburg agreed this summer to reduce the charges to misdemeanor counts of battery stemming from a separate incident, when the men entered the girl's room at night and "scared the heck out of them" with a vacuum cleaner.

Schulenberg said that the state could not pursue the abuse charges because the girl's mother, Laren Johnson, told conflicting stories to police and undermined the credibility of the case.

Cell phone video footage taken at a Walmart some time after Young and Miller had been wrestling with the girl depicted Johnson placing the girls her in a shopping cart and adjusting her legs. The girl did not appear to show signs of pain.

Schulenburg asked King for jail sentences based on Young and Miller's decision to wrestle with the girl at all, but conceded that he did not believe the duo intended to hurt the child.

Young, Schulenburg said, has a criminal history that includes felony burglary and grand larceny pleas. The judge agreed to levy a longer home confinement sentence on Young.

Reach Zac Taylor at Zachary.Taylor@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.

 


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