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Cops and Courts

Woman sent to prison in toddler's drowning seeks judicial release

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    Ezliabeth Zenda appears in court. According to court documents, Zenda, who was sentenced to four years in prison after a toddler under her care drowned at her Pittsfield Township home, has filed a motion for judicial release.



ELYRIA — A Pittsfield Township woman sentenced to four years in prison after being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and endangering children in connection with the drowning of a 22-month-old child she was baby-sitting has filed a motion for judicial release.

On July 26, Elizabeth Zenda, 50, was sentenced by Judge James Miraldi to a four-year prison term after Miraldi had found her guilty in a bench trial the previous month.

Annie Flynn and her then-21-month-old cousin, Jaxon Flynn, were found floating in a pool about 10:20 a.m. at Zenda’s in-home day care Oct. 5, 2016. The state said the death of Annie and the brain injuries sustained by Jaxon were the result of recklessness by Zenda, while defense attorney Doug Merrill said it was a tragic accident.

Testimony in the trial has said the children were in Zenda’s backyard while Zenda was inside the home talking with another woman. The children were left unsupervised for seven to eight minutes.

It is believed that Annie and Jaxon climbed the steps that led to the deck attached to the pool and then slipped beneath a locked gate that blocked access to the deck but had a 7-inch gap at the bottom. A plastic baby gate that was propped against the locked gate to block the gap was found lying on the deck, as if it had been pushed over.

While Annie drowned, Jaxon survived but suffered brain damage from the incident and struggles with his speech and balance, according to testimony.

A motion for judicial release was filed in Lorain County Common Pleas Court on Thursday, according to court documents.

“The defendant now moves this honorable court to consider granting judicial release,” the motion said. “She believes that her problems can be dealt with by community control sanctions and that she can and will cooperate with this court’s orders to do so.”

The motion asks for Miraldi to grant Zenda a hearing on the matter where Zenda “submits that, after the hearing, the court will be convinced that judicial release is appropriate.”

Contact Scott Mahoney at (440) 329-7146 or Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.

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