September 17, 2014

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Charge dropped against mother of Jesse Crum Jr.

OBERLIN — A domestic violence charge against Alyson Sweany was dropped in Oberlin Municipal Court on Thursday because the alleged victim, Peter Jones, is dead, according to court records.

Sweany, 22, is the mother of 3-year-old Jesse Crum Jr., who died from severe head injuries in March and whose death remains under investigation.

Jones, 23, hanged himself in his parents’ Amherst home on June 15, just days before he was to have been sentenced on child endangering charges for scalding Jesse while giving the boy a bath in January 2009.

The domestic violence charge stems from Sweany’s April arrest for allegedly attacking Jones while they were driving near his parents’ Forest Hill Drive home. Jones had injuries on his arm and the right side of his face and Sweany, who refused to discuss the incident with officers, didn’t have any sign of injuries, according to police.

Amherst City Prosecutor Frank Carlson said there were no other witnesses to the alleged attack on Jones.

“It’s difficult to prosecute a case of domestic violence when the victim can’t testify,” Carlson said. “Without his testimony I basically don’t have any evidence.”

Carlson also said that Jones had wanted the domestic violence charge against Sweany dropped, although that was only a small factor in Thursday’s decision.

Sweany is scheduled to be back in Oberlin Municipal Court today on disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct by intoxication charges stemming from a screaming match with Jones on May 15.

Neighbors called police to report a man and woman outside the Joneses’ home were screaming at each other and fighting, according to a police report of the May incident. When police arrived, both Jones and Sweany, who both appeared intoxicated, said they had been outside before officers got there, but denied being in a physical confrontation.

Jones — whose death has been ruled a suicide — had pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace charges in connection with the May incident and was fined and ordered to perform community service.

Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will said Thursday that the investigation into Jesse’s death is still ongoing. Charges against Jones’ parents, Dallas and Teresa Jones, centering on marijuana plants found in their house were dropped, Amherst police have said.

Peter Jones’ lawyer, Donald Tittle, has said that Jesse was injured when the toddler was trying to climb up a bookcase, which tipped over. He said the boy appeared fine to his family for a couple of days, but when he became lethargic, the family took him to the hospital.

Jesse died a few days after he was admitted to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.

Jesse’s death has been not be ruled either a homicide or an accident, but rather was the result of violence of an undetermined origin. The boy suffered blunt head trauma and had brain hemorrhages and pneumonia when he died, Tittle has said the coroner’s report said.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.