Fannon and Thompson convicted in absentia


ATHENS — Kayla Ann Fannon, 26, and Samuel A. Thompson, 31, both of Nelsonville, Ohio, were the subjects of a jury trial that began on Monday, May 8, before Judge George P. McCarthy in the Athens County Court of Common Pleas.

Fannon and Thompson were both previously indicted by an Athens County Grand Jury of endangering children, a felony of the second degree; permitting child abuse, a felony of the third degree; and endangering children, a felony of the third degree.

Jury selection was complete on Monday, May 8, the State of Ohio and attorney for Fannon presented their opening statements on Tuesday, with Thompson’s attorney waiving opening statements. According to court records, Fannon was represented by public defender Thomas Gerken, with James Wallace representing Thompson. The State of Ohio presented witnesses which included law enforcement, medical professionals, members of the defendants’ family and other witnesses.

Defense began presenting their case on Thursday, finishing the day out with Fannon taking the stand on her own behalf.

The trial came to a temporary halt on Friday when Fannon and Thompson both failed to appear. After recessing until the afternoon, Judge McCarthy ordered arrested warrants issued for both defendant’s after attempts to reach them through their attorneys failed.

Jurors were called back in on Tuesday and the Court heard arguments regarding proceeding with the trial without the defendants present. Ultimately, Judge McCarthy ruled in favor of the State and the trial reconvened in the afternoon.

Closing statements were presented on Tuesday and jury instructions were given on Wednesday prior to jury deliberations.

At approximately 1:45 p.m. on May 17 the jury found Fannon and Thompson guilty on all counts against them.

Prosecutor Keller Blackburn reports that, “From Nov. 12, 2013, through March 1, 2014, Fannon and Thompson did cause serious physical hard to their child, born Nov. 12, 2013. On March 1, 2014, Fannon took the infant to the emergency room and was then transported to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. It was found that the infant had in excess of 25 broken bones to her ribs, legs, fingers, arms, toes, shoulders and multiple skull fractures, in various stages of healing, as well as a significant brain injury. Athens County Common Pleas Juvenile Division placed permanent custody of the infant with Athens County Children Services on Dec. 9, 2014. The infant was adopted by her foster parents and has shown significant progress over the last two and a half years.”

Prosecutor Blackburn further states, “Kayla Fannon and Samuel Thompson will not be fully held accountable for their actions until they are arrested and brought before the Court for sentencing. Anyone with information as to their whereabouts is urged to contact the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office at (740) 592-3208.”

This case was investigated by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office.

Information from the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office