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Police: Murder defendant told different stories

By EILEEN MCCLORY
STAFF WRITER

An Arlington man who is accused of murdering a 2-year-old boy told different accounts of what happened to the child, a police sergeant testified Wednesday.

Brent R. Houdeshell is accused of killing Breydon Ferrell, the son of Houdeshell’s former fiancee, on March 31, 2016, at a Findlay apartment.

Houdeshell, 29, was watching Breydon and called 911 at about 8 p.m. that night. Police said Houdeshell told them the child had fallen out of his crib.

The boy was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Prosecutors say an autopsy done on the boy revealed extensive injuries, including a severe skull fracture, brain injury, two liver lacerations, and a spiral fracture in his left leg.

During the third day of Houdeshell’s trial in Hancock County Common Pleas Court, Findlay police Sgt. Brian Dill testified Wednesday that Houdeshell gave differing accounts of what happened to Breydon.

Houdeshell initially told Dill that he was in a separate room when he heard the boy fall out of his crib, and went to check on him, Dill testified.

However, Houdeshell also told Dill that when Breydon fell, the boy hit his head on the side of a desk, and also hit a toy train close to the crib, Dill said.

Houdeshell also said the boy lunged at him, acting as though he wanted to be picked up, which caused the boy’s fall, Dill testified.

Dill said Houdeshell appeared calm when he spoke with police.

Dill also testified that the crib the child was in did not appear to be an appropriate height for the child.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors brought parts of the child’s bedroom into the courtroom Wednesday to show the jury.

Assistant Hancock County Prosecutors Colleen Limerick and Steve Powell, and Columbus-based defense attorneys Megan Grant and Adam Nemann agreed to bring the crib that the child slept in the night of March 31, 2016. A desk and a TV that were in the room that night were displayed in their approximate places. A toy train was also part of the display.

In other testimony Wednesday, a Findlay firefighter said when he arrived at the apartment at 2030 Breckenridge Road, Apt. 3, he believed the boy was already dead.

Findlay firefighter Matthew Morgan said he, along with fire Capt. Matt Cooper, arrived immediately after Findlay Patrolman Eric Lehman, the first on the scene.

Morgan said the child was on the floor. Morgan told jurors he scooped up the child and took him outside to an ambulance, walking briskly. Morgan said the boy was naked, unresponsive, not breathing, and cool to the touch.

“I believed him to be deceased,” Morgan said.

Morgan said he saw bruising on the child’s buttocks, legs and back, and what may have been vomit around his mouth.

Cooper testified that there was also bruising on the child’s feet.

Hanco EMS paramedic Ryan Oliver, who helped transport the child to the hospital, testified Wednesday that when children fall from cribs, knobs on the head are the worst injuries he had seen.

In other testimony, Kevin Spieker, a Findlay police detective, said police obtained a warrant to collect evidence, including Houdeshell’s cellphone.

Spieker said he saw Houdeshell manipulating his phone before handing it over. Spieker said he believed some text messages were intentionally deleted by Houdeshell, though they were recovered during the police investigation.

Houdeshell is accused of murder, an unclassified felony; endangering children, a second-degree felony; and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 8:30 a.m. today with Judge Reginald Routson presiding.

McClory: 419-427-8497
Send an E-mail to Eileen McClory
Twitter: @CourierEileen



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