The trial of Zanesville couple charged in connection with a house party this past July where a teen died ended Thursday in Zanesville Municipal Court.
43-year-old Tamara and 45-year-old Warren Howard were found guilty on all seven counts of endangering children by Judge James Fais.
"The evidence shows their home had been a known watering hole among their sons friends, where minors would drink upon their premises on several occasions, as admitted to by the witnesses and the physical evidence collected from the defendants neighbor’s yard," said Judge Fais.
The two were sentenced to 180 days in jail which was suspended and fined $1,000 each. They also must complete 50 hours of community service, serve two years probation, not consume or have any alcohol in the home and attend a victim impact program.
"Adults have to be adults," said Zanesville City Law Director Scott Hillis. "Yes, kids are going to do things and make mistakes. It’s up to their parents to protect them, to teach them and show them what’s wrong and when you make a mistake to take responsibility for it and I don’t think that point has still hit home for these defendants."
"I think the Howards did what any parent would do in this circumstance and frankly I don’t think they were abusive or ignored the situation as they interpreted it as they saw it," said Defense Attorney Herb Baker.
During closing statements the prosecution argued that the Howards should have stayed sober that night and monitored the children. Both Howards testified that they had no reason to distrust the boys at the home.
"Were you not concerned what may be going on with 15 teenage kids," questioned Hillis to Tamara Warren. "There were not 15 kids in the house," said Tamara Howard. "No. not when I went to bed, but I’ve learned their was not when I went to bed."
"These kids were pretty honest with me," said Warren Howard.
The Howards have 30 days to appeal the verdict in the case. Baker said that an appeal will be an up hill battle. Baker also said the verdict in this case was identical to a plea deal he offered prior to trial. Both the Howards and the Hickmans declined to comment.