Testimony continues in trial of girl allegedly locked in basement

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - Testimony resumes Wednesday in Butler County where a couple is accused of locking their 12-year-old daughter in their basement for nearly a month.

Joanna Blackston, 37, and Shawn Blackston, 40, have both pleaded not guilty in Butler County to the misdemeanor count. Earlier felony charges of kidnapping were dismissed.

On Tuesday, the courtroom heard hours of testimony from several witnesses, including the 12-year-old girl herself.  The Blackstons listened as a Butler County Children's Services official and the couple's teenage daughters took the stands -- who said they all saw the girl being mistreated themselves.

All agreed that she was often spanked or hit by her parents after misbehaving and had a room downstairs in the basement of their home where she stayed most of the time.

That's where authorities say they found the girl back in July when the couple was arrested. Prosecutors argued that the girl had wanted to live there at one point with her 15-year-old sister.  Her sister described the living conditions vividly.

The Blackstons each face up to six months in prison if they are convicted.

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