Ruling soon in case over Ohio girl in basement

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A southwest Ohio judge will soon rule in the case of a father and stepmother suspected of locking a 12-year-old girl in the basement as discipline.

The ruling was expected Friday in the nonjury trial in Butler County Juvenile Court after a judge heard three days of testimony.

Forty-year-old Shawn Blackston and 37-year-old Joanna Blackston of Middletown were charged with child endangering and pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor.

They were arrested in July after authorities said they found the girl in the basement, dirty and underweight. She testified that she was locked in the basement, denied food and punished with cold showers.

Joanna Blackston testified that the girl needed discipline and that the door was locked to keep toddlers in the home from falling down stairs.

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