Dad VINCENT BLANDA has been found guilty of murder, domestic violence, and endangering children in the shaking death of his infant daughter.
Jury: Hamilton father guilty of murdering infant
By Lauren Pack, Staff Writer
Updated 11:00 PM Thursday, January 14, 2010
HAMILTON — A Hamilton father accused of shaking his infant daughter to death has been found guilty of murder.
The jury read the verdict against Vincent Blanda at 8 p.m. in Butler County Common Pleas Court Thursday night, Jan. 14.
The jury also found Blanda, 39, guilty of domestic violence and guilty of endangering children stemming from the death of his daughter Brooklynn, who died of inner-cranial hemorrhage in March, 2008.
Blanda’s ex-wife and Brooklynn’s mother, Carmen VonScyoc, burst into tears and gave a soft scream of “yes” when the verdict was read.
She hugged her husband and other family members, who attended the three-day trial.
“I thank God, because he saw that there was justice for my baby girl,” VonScyoc said.
The jury deliberated about 7 and 1/2 hours before returning the verdict. Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper entered the courtroom just before the verdict was read.
“Men who murder babies will be prosecuted to the greatest extent of the law,” Piper said after hearing the guilty verdict.
Defense attorney Jeremy Evans thanked the jury, but said, “I still sincerely believe he did not cause the damage to his baby.”
Butler County Common Pleas Judge Patricia Oney set Feb. 22 as the sentencing date for Blanda. He faces 15 years to life in prison.
Blanda told Hamilton detectives, his wife and dispatchers that he shook the infant when he could not quiet her crying. The child then went “kind of comatose,” Blanda said in a 911 tape that was played for the jury.
Shaken baby syndrome and the manner of the infant’s death came into question during trial testimony with both the prosecution and the defense calling expert doctors.
During closing statements, Evans told the jury there was no evidence that Blanda hit, punched or hurled Brooklynn and hurt her.
“The experts said shaking wouldn’t do it,” Evans told the jury.
He said his expert, forensic pathologist Dr. George Nichols from Louisville, Ky., gave the jury reasonable doubt when he said there was no contusion on Brooklynn’s head and said he would have ruled her manner of death as inconclusive.
“This is a sad case,” Evans said, noting a baby is dead. “Vincent is a father that, after two years, is trying to find out what happened to his daughter.”
Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer McElfresh told the jury, “Only the defendant knows what he did to Brooklynn, but whatever he did caused her to become lifeless.”