September 22, 2014

Medina
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Mom gets 8 years in prison for scalding daughter

MEDINA — A 25-year-old Harrisville Township woman who scalded her young daughter in a bathtub and waited almost four days to get her treated was sentenced to eight years in prison Thursday.

Jessica Graham, of 8507 Avon Lake Road, pleaded no contest last month to felonious assault, a second-degree felony, and two charges of endangering children, a second-degree and a third-degree felony.

Jessica Graham, 25, appears in court Thursday with her attorney Kevin Ondrey. Graham, of Harrisville Township, was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges related to scalding her 4-year-old daughter in a bathtub. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY MARIA KACIK KULA)

Jessica Graham, 25, appears in court Thursday with her attorney Kevin Ondrey. Graham, of Harrisville Township, was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges related to scalding her 4-year-old daughter in a bathtub. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY MARIA KACIK KULA)

“There’s no way to express how sorry I am for my actions. … They’re not really in my character,” she said just before she was sentenced by Judge James L. Kimbler.

Graham tried to wash her 4-year-old daughter with scalding water after the girl soiled herself on May 7.

Graham then placed over-the-counter products containing lidocaine on the burns to help heal and relieve pain. Lidocaine is a local anesthetic and a common ingredient in topical ointments that relieve itching and burning.

The Medina County Sheriff’s Office reported emergency crews were sent to the home on May 11 about reports the girl was having a seizure. They later learned she was suffering lidocaine poisoning.

Graham’s lawyer, Kevin Ondrey, said in court Thursday that Graham was pregnant with her fourth child at the time of the incident. The victim, now 5 years old, is her oldest.

Ondrey said that Graham was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder. “She was going through a tremendous amount of stress with those mental health issues,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people who are going through a tremendous amount of stress who don’t burn children,” Kimbler replied.

Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman requested a sentence of 10 years. He said the girl suffered second- and third-degree burns, underwent several surgeries and was induced into a coma to help her deal with the pain.

Graham’s husband, Roger Graham, 31, also of 8507 Avon Lake Road, faces three counts of felonious assault and a third-degree felony charge of endangering children because he allegedly did not seek treatment for the girl for days after the incident. He reportedly was not home when his wife scalded the girl, who is his step-daughter.

He pleaded not guilty in July and is set to stand trial Feb. 14. He is free on $7,500 bond.

Ondrey said in court Thursday that Jessica Graham intends to divorce Roger Graham.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.