Trial continues for couple accused of locking girl in basement

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - The third and final day in the trial for the Middletown couple accused of locking their 12-year-old daughter in the basement for weeks will begin Thursday morning.

Joanna Blackston, 37, is accused of depriving her 12-year-old stepdaughter of food, giving her cold showers, and force feeding her for punishment. Blackston will be cross examined by prosecuting attorneys.

Several witnesses testified Wednesday including Joanna Blackston and Blackston's mother.

The most surprising testimony came from Joanna Blackston's best friend and coworker saying that she liked the publicity she was getting from the case and that she called her kids "crazy" on a daily basis.

Blackston and her husband Shawn, 40, have been charged with child endangering for allegedly locking the girl in the basement of their Philadelphia Avenue home from June 18 to July 3. Butler County Children Services and Middletown police were called to investigate allegations of abuse after receiving an anonymous call.

The Blackstons face up to six months in jail if convicted of the misdemeanor charge.

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