Prosecutors Drop All But One Charge Against Aunt in Baby Murder Case

kelly-hemmingerCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Prosecutors have dropped all but one charge against an Ohio woman in the death of a 9-month-old boy, stemming from injuries suffered at a Clarion County camp in August 2013.

Kelly A. Hemminger, 23, of Ashtabula, Ohio, was facing charges of Conspiracy – Criminal Homicide; Conspiracy – Simple Assault; Conspiracy – Aggravated Assault; Recklessly Endangering Another Person; and two separate counts of Endangering the Welfare of Children.

The charges were filed in March in connection with the death of 9-month-old Zeke Hamilton at a seasonal residence along Marble-Strobleton Road in Washington Township.

Following further investigation, prosecutors in Clarion County have reduced the charges against Hemminger to one count of Endangering the Welfare of Children.

Hemminger’s boyfriend at the time, Chad Chadwick, 22, of Ashtabula, Ohio, is facing numerous charges, including Criminal Homicide.

According to authorities, the two were entrusted with Hamilton and his two siblings for an overnight camp-out over Labor Day weekend last year.

Between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., on August 31, Hamilton began vomiting, breathing heavy, and started to seize, after being seen healthy hours before, according to a Criminal Complaint.

Screenshot_6Chadwick and Hemminger, along with David Hemminger, took the victim to UPMC Northwest in Seneca in a personal vehicle. Later Marienville-based State Police were contacted about a 6-month-old (the age Hamilton was at the time) at UPMC Northwest with injuries from potentially being shaken.

He was then life-flighted to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh to receive more advanced medical attention. It was reported by medical personnel that the victim had a fractured skull and broken ribs.

Hamilton remained in critical condition and was moved to a hospice unit for 78 days where he remained in a coma before passing away on November 15. The Medical Examiner’s report states that the victim sustained “non-accidental blunt force trauma to the head.”

Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty.

Clarion County District Attorney Mark Aaron said the death penalty has been in consideration since the beginning of the investigation because the victim was a child under the age of 12.

The age of the victim is one of eighteen “aggravating factors” for capital punishment in Pennsylvania.

Chadwick remains jailed in the Clarion County Jail in lieu of $500,000.00 bail.

His case continues to make its way through the court system.

Hemminger has not yet entered a plea on the remaining charge, according to court documents.

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