MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - On Friday, a Middletown couple was found guilty of charges that they abused their 12-year-old daughter and locked her in the basement.
A judge found Shawn and Joanna Blackston guilty of the misdemeanor charge of child endangerment on Friday. The couple faces up to six months in jail.
Investigators say the Blackstons locked the girl in their basement for three weeks denying her basic necessities like toilet paper and food as a form of punishment.
On Thursday in court, the defense said that wasn't true. Joanna Blackston was firm in her testimony on saying she did not torture, or abuse her 12-year-old stepdaughter.
She told the courtroom any punishment given to the girl was also given to the other seven children in the home.
Blackston says she never locked the girl in a dirty basement for three weeks as alleged by prosecutors nor did she take away toilet paper, a toothbrush or her clothes.
Those necessities are exactly what prosecutors allege the girl was deprived of and on a regular basis.
Butler County Children's Services received a call that the girl was kept captive and fed irregularly. A subsequent investigation led to the couple's arrest on July 6.
Shawn and Joanna Blackston have previously pleaded not guilty in Butler County to the misdemeanor count. Earlier felony charges of kidnapping were dismissed.
The couple’s children will remain in foster care as a result of the charges.
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