September 18, 2014

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Couple accused of locking girl in basement gets probation

HAMILTON, Ohio — A father and stepmother have received probation on child endangering convictions that began with allegations they kept their 12-year-old daughter locked in their southwest Ohio basement.

A prosecutor says 40-year-old Shawn Blackston and 37-year-old Joanna Blackston were sentenced today in Butler County Juvenile Court in Hamilton. The judge suspended their six-month jail sentences and placed them on three years’ probation.

A January hearing will determine custody of the 12-year-old girl.

Authorities found her dirty and underweight in the Middletown home in July. She said she was confined to the basement as discipline. A judge wasn’t convinced she had been confined for long periods, but pointed to other mistreatment, including the parents forcing her to eat peanut butter until she vomited.

A message was left Tuesday for the Blackstons’ attorney.