NEW INFO: Father Pleads Guilty to Abusing Infant Daughter, Sentenced

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 11/8/12 @ 11:25 a.m.
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A father has pleaded guilty to hurting his infant daughter.

Jerry Schrode, 29, of South Point, was in court in Lawrence County, Ohio on Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing, when he pleaded guilty to a felonious assault charge.

The charge stems back to July when he admitted to causing brain and eye injuries to the 6-month-old girl.

Schrode originally told investigators that he left the baby on the couch and went to another room and when he came back, she had fallen off the couch. He then changed his story. Investigators say Schrode admitted to throwing the fussing baby on the couch and shaking her after she became unresponsive.

Schrode was sentenced to five years behind bars.



UPDATE 8/10/12 @ 5 p.m.
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- An accused child abuser was back in court Friday with a new story.

This was a hearing to determine if there's probable cause to send Jerry Schrode's felony child assault case to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The investigating detective testified that the 29 year old South Point father first said when questioned he was alone babysitting his infant daughter on July 29th

He said that’s when he went to the kitchen for a moment and the baby fell off the couch.

“He said he picked the child up and tried to bring her around when she was unresponsive,” Detective Aaron Bollinger said.

Bollinger said he then told Schrode the condition of the hospitalized child was not consistent with any accident injury.

“There were bruises and a brain injury and swelling behind the retina,” Bollinger said.

He said Schrode heard that shaken baby syndrome list and confessed to throwing the fussing baby on a couch and shaking her after she became unresponsive.

"He said he was frustrated and mad and threw the child,” Bollinger said.

Under cross examination, Schrode's lawyer showed Bollinger pictures of the child 24 hours after the incident, saying she did not look roughed up.

His attorney said there was no confession or crime committed.

"He said he was making up a bottle when the child fell off the couch,” Defense lawyer Michael Davenport said.

After hearing the evidence, Judge Donald Capper did find probable cause to send Jerry Schrode's felony child assault case on to a grand jury.

The child is now out of the hospital and in a foster home.

Jerry Schrode remains jailed.

His bond is set at 300-thousand dollars.

If found guilty, he faces a possible maximum sentence of 8 years in prison.



UPDATE 8/10/12 @ 1:45 p.m.
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – The case of a father charged with assaulting his 6-month-old daughter is now headed to a grand jury.

Jerry Schrode, 28, of South Point, was arrested last week on a felonious assault charge.

Detectives with The Lawrence County Sheriff's Department told WSAZ.com that Schrode admitted to causing brain and eye injuries to the baby on July 29.

Schrode’s preliminary hearing on the charge took place Friday afternoon in Lawrence County Municipal Court.

A judge found probable cause to send the case to a grand jury following testimony by a Lawrence County Sheriff’s Detective.

On Tuesday,, a grand jury in Boyd County, Ky. did not indict Schrode in an unrelated case involving 14-month old Harlan Watts.

The baby died last August, in Schrode's care. Investigators in Boyd County said Schrode was the only person investigated in the death.

Commonwealth Attorney David Justice told WSAZ.com that the grand jury cited insufficient evidence in reaching their decision.

Justice says the "no bill" doesn't mean the case closed. He says it can be brought back at any time.



UPDATE 8/7/12 @ 1:15 p.m.
BOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A man charged with child assault against his six-month-old daughter is not be charged with the death of another child who was in his care..

Jerry Schrode was arrested last week in Lawrence County, Ohio
after detectives with the Sheriff's Office said that Schrode admitted to causing brain and eye injuries to the baby on July 29.

Investigators say he confessed to throwing her on a couch where she hit her head on hardwood.

But that isn't the only case involving children that centered around Schrode.

Investigators in Boyd County, Kentucky say Schrode was the only person investigated in the death of 14-month-old Harlan Watts.

The baby died last August, in Schrode's care, but no charges had ever been filed.

Tuesday, the the Commonwealth Attorney presented the Watts case to a Boyd County Grand Jury..

Commonwealth Attorney David Justice tells WSAZ.com that the grand jury did not indict Schrode, citing insufficient evidence in the case.

Justice says the "no bill" doesn't mean the case closed. He says it can be brought back at any time.



UPDATE 8/3/12 @ 7 p.m.
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A sick monster and a serial child abuser -- that's what some parents are saying about a local man who detectives say admits to roughing up his 6-month-old daughter.

WSAZ.com’s Randy Yohe has the latest in a WSAZ.com investigation into the troubled world of Jerry Schrode.

The 28-year-old former first responder is behind bars, facing child assault charges. He is also the sole subject of a long-running infant death investigation now coming to a head.

And, we've uncovered other child abuse charges filed against the Ironton man.

In a Lawrence County courtroom Friday morning, Schrode's child assault charge prompted a $300,000 bond.

Detectives say Schrode confessed to shaking his infant daughter, who suffered blunt force head trauma and brain and eye injuries. And they say he confessed to throwing her on a couch where she hit her head on hardwood.

Bobby Watts still grieves over the death of his 14-month-old son Harlan.

In Kentucky, state police say that in August 2011, Schrode -- who was living in Boyd County with Watts' ex-girlfriend and the mother of Harlan and the Ohio infant -- was baby sitting alone with the child.

That's when Harlan died from what the coroner says was blunt force head trauma with brain and eye injuries.

Police say Schrode was the caretaker of the child at the time of the offense.

“My son cried a lot when his mommy and daddy were not there," Watts said. "I think he shook him until he passed out, then he knew he messed up and took a dresser and TV and tipped it over on him.”

In April 2012, after eight months of investigating Harlan Watts' death, police chose not to file criminal charges against Schrode, but turn the open investigation over to the commonwealth attorney for a grand jury review.

Prosecutor David Justice says when he got the Schrode case involving Harlan Watts from state police, with no confession, the death investigation was far from complete.

“I work hard to secure a conviction," Justice said. "Some cases are weak cases."

Crystalyn Sowards says in the few months she was married to Shrode in 2010, he repeatedly choked and abused her then infant son Liam to the point of multiple hospitalizations because he cried too much.

“He said he would get him from behind and sometime hold him face down and choke him that way," Sowards said.

Sowards filed one child abuse charge against Schrode. A judge diverted the charge with no plea involved, ordered Schrode to have no contact with the infant for a year, then dismissed the entire case.

Now there's a parental cry for justice and keeping babies safe from Schrode.

“If they had locked him up the first time when this happened to my son, this would not have happened to this little girl," Watts said.

Justice says he will present the Harlan Watts' death case to a grand jury next Tuesday. He says he can tell the jury about Schrode's recent Ohio child assault case and the dismissed child abuse case involving Sowards.

Detectives say Schrode's 6-month-old daughter is now out of the hospital and in good condition. She has been placed in state custody.

We’ll tell you what the Kentucky grand jury returns next Tuesday. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 8/3/12 @ 10:15 a.m.
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A father charged with assaulting his 6-month-old daughter was in court Friday.

Jerry Schrode, 28, of South Point, was arrested Thursday on a felonious assault charge.

Detectives with The Lawrence County Sheriff's Department told WSAZ.com that Schrode admitted to causing brain and eye injuries to the baby on July 29.

Schrode was arraigned on the charge Friday morning in Lawrence County Municipal Court.

His bond was set at $300,000. His pretrial is set for August 10.

The Kentucky State Police tell WSAZ.com that Schrode is also connected to another case where a young child died from serious injuries last August.

Troopers say Schrode was alone with, and babysitting, Harlan Watts when the 14-month-old was injured at his family’s residence in Ashland.

He was taken to Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, and then transported Cabell Huntington Hospital where he died.

KSP says Schrode was the only person investigated in the case.

State Police also tell WSAZ.com the death investigation was completed in April and handed over to the Commonwealth Attorney.

Boyd County Commonwealth Attorney David Justice says a grand jury is expected to hear the case on Tuesday.

KSP and the Boyd County Coroner confirm that Harlan Watts died from blunt force trauma to the head with brain and eye injuries.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 8/2/12 @ 11:51 p.m.
LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A father is behind bars on charges of seriously hurting his 6-month-old daughter.

Jerry Schrode was arrested Thursday on a felonious assault charge.

Detectives with The Lawrence County Sheriff's Department tell WSAZ.com Schrode admitted to causing brain and eye injuries to the baby on July 29.

Schrode is now being held in the Lawrence County Jail.

He is expected to be arraigned on the charges Friday morning.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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