26 02 2008

Teens accused of beating disabled woman

By Lisa Cornwell
Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008

http://www.star-telegram.com/462/story/495203.html

CINCINNATI — Two teenagers hid overnight in a house and spent more than six hours torturing a disabled woman after her mother left in the morning, authorities said.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said the teenage boy and girl tied up the 18-year-old woman, clubbed her, kicked her, shaved her head and soaked her with water before making her walk barefoot outside in the snow.

They also ignored pleas from the woman, who had undergone brain surgery, not to hit her in the head, investigators said.

“This is one of the worst crimes I’ve ever seen,” Jones said Monday. “They are sick animals, apparently just doing this for kicks and no other reason.”

Cheyenne Blanton, 17, and Joseph Nagle, 16, both of Hamilton, were arraigned Monday on juvenile delinquency charges that include aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, felonious assault and vandalism, according to juvenile court officials.

They were ordered held in the county’s juvenile detention center pending a court appearance later this week. Neither entered a plea, and both requested court-appointed attorneys. Those attorneys had not been named Monday.

The teens are accused of physically abusing Ashley Clark, 18, for more than six hours Friday at her home in Hanover Township, about 35 miles northwest of Cincinnati.

Both Jones and the woman’s mother, Sheila Clark, want the teenagers tried as adults, and Jones said the two could get 75 years to life in prison if tried and convicted as adults.

“I want full justice for my daughter,” Clark said Monday. “Those two never need to walk the streets again.”

Clark would not comment on details of the case or provide specifics on her daughter’s disabilities or injuries, other than to say that her daughter was doing as well as possible.

“I can’t understand how anyone could do this to anyone, but especially to someone with such a beautiful, loving heart,” Sheila Clark said.

Messages seeking comment on whether adult charges would be pursued were left at the prosecutor’s office Monday. There was no answer at telephone listing for a Joseph Nagel in Hamilton. There was no listing for Cheyenne Blanton.

Jones said the teenagers hid overnight in the basement of the Clark home, intending to steal the car and leave town before an upcoming juvenile court appearance date for one of the suspects.

They apparently missed their chance to get the car when Sheila Clark left the house in it Friday morning, and they went into the kitchen to get something to eat before going upstairs and waking her daughter, Jones said. The pair then spent the next six to eight hours torturing Ashley Clark, he said.

The mother realized something had happened when she came home, saw the house ransacked and called 911. A neighbor also called the sheriff’s department to report two juveniles in the neighbor’s yard.

Detectives apprehended the teenagers a few minutes later in nearby woods after following their footprints in the snow, Jones said.

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