September 22, 2014

Elyria
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James Osborne pleads insanity in ABC Kidz case

James Osborne

James Osborne

Heather Koon

Heather Koon

ELYRIA — James Osborne on Friday pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges he convinced his fiance, Heather Koon, to molest children at day care centers where she worked.

“He has been hearing voices for some time,” Osborne’s attorney, Mike Duff, said, although he declined to discuss what those voices told his client.

Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will said he was unaware of the insanity plea and an accompanying request to determine whether Osborne is competent to assist in his own defense. But Will said he’s seen nothing to indicate that Osborne is insane.

“I don’t have any information on that,” Will said.

Prosecutors have said that Osborne, a convicted sex offender, persuaded Koon to rape four children at ABC Kidz Child Care in Elyria in March and April of last year. She also allegedly took obscene photos of children at both ABC Kidz and the Country Day School in Amherst, where she worked after leaving ABC Kidz.

Lorain County sheriff’s deputies learned of the sexual abuse after arresting Osborne Sept. 26 at Koon’s Elyria home. He is accused of living with Koon rather than at the Oberlin address he had registered with the county, an allegation Duff has denied.

Deputies found sexually explicit photos on Osborne’s iPhone, although Duff has said the pictures were downloaded from the Internet. The ensuing investigation led to authorities finding images on the phone and a laptop computer that implicated Koon in the rapes.

Osborne’s insanity plea came the same day that county Common Pleas Judge James Miraldi granted a request from prosecutors to try Koon and Osborne together.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo wrote in his request to join the cases that the allegations were “inextricably intertwined.”

“While Defendant Koon was physically committing the offenses, the evidence will show that Defendant Osborne was soliciting, encouraging and conspiring to have her commit the acts and text both pictures and films of the crimes,” Cillo wrote.

Duff said he objected to trying Koon and Osborne together because he suspects Koon’s lawyer, Dan Wightman, intends to argue that his client forced her into the crimes.

In court documents filed last month, Duff wrote that text messages between Koon and Osborne indicate “their mutual enjoyment of the sexual assaults.”

Koon also offered to take the “fall” for the sexual abuse during an Oct. 1 phone call between herself and Osborne, Duff wrote.

“It’s my computer, so it’s not your fault,” the documents quote Koon telling Osborne. “I’m gonna take the blame. Videos are enough that I did (expletive). They are gonna charge me with rape anyways.”

Duff also wrote that Koon implicated Osborne during a conversation with a defense expert after she was jailed.

“Ms. Koon stated to her that Defendant Osborne gave Ms. Koon the choice of either continuing the swinging lifestyle or doing kiddy porn,” Duff wrote.

Wightman, who didn’t oppose trying Koon and Osborne together, said whether Koon was compelled to carry out the crimes she’s accused of committing will be a central part of her defense.

“Suffice to say that if this case goes to trial, there’s going to be a lot of discussion of the relationship of Heather and Osborne,” he said.

Wightman declined to get into details, but suggested that Koon herself may have been victimized by Osborne and the question is “whether she acted voluntarily or whether was under compulsion.”

Duff said if they are tried together, it would be difficult for his client to refute those allegations unless Koon testifies.

“If she claims she’s an involuntary participant and she doesn’t take the stand, how do you fight that?” Duff said.

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


  • bigmacky

    knew that was coming from 10 miles out – it wasn’t me – it was the one-armed man!! – pass the bleach and gas – sterilization commencing in 3-2-1

  • bROWNS77

    They can call eachother in jail? What?
    I never even heard of such thing after the one phone call
    after your initial arrest. I thought inmates have to call collect?
    Anyways, death penalty ! Noose, chair , kick. Disgusting!

  • stop ur whining part deux

    Repeat sexual predators should lose the right to have their reproductive organs. This man should be castrated with or without the voices.

  • SandyLey

    Both of these pieces of garbage need to be locked up forever. They are mutual enablers. Each just as guilty as the other. Why even waste taxpayer money on a trial for these animals?

  • Bob Sweatt

    Voices… My hair white Irish butt.

    This is just a ploy (hope I spelled that right) for this dirt bag to get everyone to feel sorry for him.

  • Mechele Gober

    Regardless of WHO is hearing voices and WHO is to blame, neither one is denying they did it! Those babies were hurt, mistreated, and innocence was taken! Both need to just disappear so no other children or babies get hurt by them.

  • younkowhoitis75

    we can all hope the voices in his head will tell him to hang himself in jail but not before talking koons into hanging herself. shame on you Duff money and greed are there no ambulances left in lorain county chase. you don’t have to take every case that calls

    • Joe Smith

      Since I doubt Duff is a public defender, I would rather see them pay for their defense than to have the taxpayers pay to defend the AND to house them for life. At least drain them of all their money in the process

  • younkowhoitis75

    don’t you think the jails are full enough . people like that need to be put down like a rabid dog

  • bdid.d

    We know they are both insane! Now send them to prison! He just wants a comfy bed, psych meds and no @$$whoopins!

    • LugNutt

      That’s definitely what he is going for. Too bad their is no such plea to God!

  • Michael

    I’ll bet he has been hearing voices for some time. Probably, and conveniently, ever since he was caught! They’ve been saying “if you end up in jail, the gross things you’ve been doing to kids will make you very popular, only this time you’ll be the one screaming like that poor innocent child”.

    • LugNutt

      Right on the money Michael… why can’t these losers seek help before their crimes? Only “sorry” when caught!

  • LugNutt

    If this were my kids…. prison would be a dream for them!