PROSECUTOR TO CONTINUE PROBE OF CARROLL DEATH

Date: 1994-11-30
Source: newsbank.com

PROSECUTOR TO CONTINUE PROBE OF CARROLL DEATH

DEAL PUTS TESTIMONY ON RECORD

Janice Haidet
November 30, 1994

Dayton Daily News
       
Behind the smiles of the friendly agreement in the Carroll case earlier this week, a specter hovers in the background.

The agreement, between defense attorneys and prosecutors, ended what could have been a long fight for the custody of two disabled Carroll children. It allows those children to visit their parents, Kathleen and Timothy Carroll, more frequently. The two boys have been in foster care since August 1993, in the wake of four suspicious deaths among the couple's 10 disabled youngsters. But amid the agreement's dozen provisions, one item stands out.

It put nationally known experts' sworn statements in the official Greene County Juvenile Court record - and paves the way for Greene County Prosecutor William F. Schenck to pursue prosecution in the June 14, 1993, death of Josiah Carroll, 12.

"All three experts, from three different perspectives and from three different parts of the country, say the same thing: 'This child was murdered,' " Schenck said. "There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Josiah Carroll died as the result of a homicide. The homicide investigation is nowhere near closed."

The experts were to testify at a hearing to determine whether Greene County Children Services Board should be given permanent custody of Isaiah Carroll, 12, and Samuel Carroll, 6. A judge removed the boys from the Carrolls' home in August 1993 in response to the string of suspicious deaths.

Schenck said the expert testimony illustrated just cause to fear for Isaiah and Samuel's safety, but the agreement's terms eased those fears. Defense lawyers argued that testimony was irrelevant to the custody issue.

The agreement guarantees continued therapy and schooling for Isaiah and Samuel, along with Children Services supervision. Perhaps most importantly, Schenck said, it bars James Carroll, 18, whom Isaiah has implicated in Josiah's death, from the two boys while the investigation of Josiah's death continues.

The last of the youngsters to die, Josiah had cerebral palsy and asthma - and the circumstances of his death alarmed officials because:

* He was found dead on his stomach - considered an improbable position because his legs were permanently bent.

* Emergency crews found his body cold and blue; hospital personnel estimated he'd been dead for several hours before the death was reported by James Carroll.

* Marks inside Josiah's lips and on an eyelid were "very suggestive" of smothering, according to an autopsy report that led to a homicide ruling.

* Then this summer, authorities said Isaiah, who cannot speak, "communicated" by gestures and other means that he saw James smother Josiah.

The Carrolls admit that Isaiah and Josiah slept in the same bedroom, but they maintain Isaiah slept in an area with an obstructed view of Josiah. Further, while the Carrolls agree that Isaiah is indeed bright and communicative, they say his gesturing can be misinterpreted or unreliable because it can be caused by random, uncontrollable movements.

However, the experts' statements filed with the court support the theory that Josiah was suffocated.

Schenck said getting the evidence together in this case has been complicated, partially because of the difficulties involved with a witness who cannot speak.

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