Guilty pleas entered in kids in totes case

STEUBENVILLE – Four people involved in putting young children inside plastic containers as a form of punishment on June 16 pleaded guilty on Tuesday before Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David Henderson.

James A. Taylor, 30, Samantha M. Taylor, 26, and Glenn A. Adams, 28, all of 1321 Oregon Ave., and Daniel A. McKenney, 22, of 201 Bartleyville Road, Burgettstown, were indicted in August in connection with the case.

The Taylors pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of endangering children, a felony count of child endangering and a misdemeanor charge of unlawful restraint.

Adams and McKenney pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of unlawful restraint.

County Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Bruzzese said James Taylor was the primary person responsible for the abuse. Bruzzese recommended Taylor serve six months in jail and six months in the Eastern Ohio Correction Center. He also recommended Samantha Taylor be given credit for the 115 days she served in jail and be placed on probation. The Taylors faced up to 36 months in prison.

Henderson ordered a presentence investigation for the Taylors.

Adams and McKenney were placed on one year or monitored probation by Henderson.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said in August the Taylors put three children, ages 8, 6 and 5 at the time, inside plastic storage containers as punishment.

City Police reported holes were cut in the lids. At some point, water was poured on the children inside the containers, police reported. At some point, the holes were covered with a T-shirt, police reported.

A call was made to county children services about the incident and a city officer investigated and interviewed the children. The children were removed and placed in the care of children services. Bruzzese said a grandfather now has custody of the children.

James Taylor said the children were playing in the basement when they knocked the plastic containers down, breaking other items. He said the children played hide and seek in the containers. Taylor said the children wouldn’t stand in the corner for 10 minutes so he said he gave the kids the option of having the containers cut up or they could spend 10 minutes inside the containers. Taylor said the kids chose to be placed in the containers.

After the kids were placed in the containers. the Taylors left to go to the grocery store.

Taylor said Adams and McKenney, an uncle of the children, were supposed to let the kids out of the containers.

A woman came to the home in the meantime and let the kids out of the containers.

Bruzzese said the kids were in the containers for about 25 minutes.

“I corrected the children in a manner that wasn’t appropriate. I made a severe error (in judgment). I didn’t think what I did was dangerous,” Taylor told the judge.

Samantha Taylor told Henderson that she was only told by her husband, James Taylor, that he put her stepchildren in the containers. She claimed she was outside playing with her other children at the time. She claimed the holes in the container were cut prior to the incident because the kids played inside the containers.

Bruzzese interrupted her account and told the judge she wasn’t being truthful and evidence showed the holes were cut in the lids that day.

“She is involved in it and nothing she told the court was accurate,” Bruzzese said.

Samantha Taylor then admitted she knew about the kids being placed in the containers prior to her and her husband leaving for the store.

Nothing was mentioned during the plea change hearing about water allegedly being poured on the kids while they were inside the containers.