(Ohio) Father convicted in infant's death
By Kevin Mayhood, Dispatch Staff Reporter
Columbus Dispatch, May 18, 2002

A father's story didn't add up, and now he faces decades in prison for killing his 6-week-old daughter.

A Franklin County jury yesterday found Michael W. Ross, 30, of Arbor Rose Way on the Far East Side, guilty of involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault and two counts of child endangering.

The jury, however, found him not guilty of the most serious charge: murdering his daughter, Madison.

As the verdicts were read, Ross' wife wept. Other members of the family appeared upset but remained silent. Ross showed no emotion.

The morning of July 31, he had called 911. He told paramedics that he had been feeding Madison and that she choked and went limp.

But the girl's body was cold, indicating she had been dead for some time, and she had suffered blows to her head equal to those suffered in a car accident, prosecutors alleged.

Madison most likely died within two hours of suffering the injuries, said Dr. Keith Norton, who performed the autopsy on the infant.

Ross told investigators that Madison's 5-year-old brother had moved the infant off the couch the night before. This was when Madison most likely suffered the fatal injuries, defense attorney Robert E. Cesner Jr. said.

Ross was alone with the children that night.

"None of the arguments put forth by the defense made any sense with the testimony of the doctors, paramedics and a neighbor,'' Welch said. "And trying to pin it on a 5-year-old who was asleep was preposterous.''

Common Pleas Judge Dale A. Crawford set sentencing for July 12.

"Since all the charges arise out of the same incident for which he was convicted, it is expected and appropriate they would be merged into a single sentence,'' Cesner said.

"We are relieved he was not convicted of the murder charge, and we think the not-guilty verdict is very appropriate.''

Assistant Prosecutors Ron Welch and Christian Domis, however, said they will seek the maximum on each charge and ask that Crawford run them consecutively.

If Ross receives the maximum on each charge, he could be imprisoned for 31 years.

You can call Columbus Dispatch newsdesk at 614-461-5000 or write The Columbus Dispatch, 34 South 3rd Street, Columbus, OH 43215.

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