Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 28, 2014

Man sentenced in daughter’s death

Elliott gets 7 years for 2-year-old’s suffocation

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

CATLETTSBURG — A Boyd County man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for the suffocation death of his 2-year-old daughter.

John T. Elliott, 31, of Catlettsburg, was sentenced Friday by Boyd Circuit Judge C. David Hagerman.

Elliott pleaded guilty Feb. 7 to second-degree manslaughter. In  doing so, he agreed to accept the seven-year sentence. The charge is a Class C felony that carries a five- to 10-year sentence.

Elliott was charged in the March 26, 2012, death of his daughter, Summer Ann Adkins of Rush. The toddler died at King’s Daughters Medical Center after having been in her father’s care at his home on Barbecue Road. According to the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department, which investigated the case, the autopsy report from the state Medical Examiner’s Office showed the youngster’s death was the result of “homicide by compression.”

According to Boyd Commonwealth’s Attorney David Justice, Elliott admitted to suffocating his daughter while attempting to get her to stop crying.

Justice said the plea deal for Elliott was reached only after consulation with and approval by two of Summer’s paternal aunts, whom he said “were the only relatives who expressed any concern for the child.”

Another consideration in accepting a plea deal was a mental examination of the defendant by a state psychiatrist, Justice said. The psychiatrist found Elliott competent to stand trial, but the exam also revealed evidence of diminished capacity, he said.

Justice said testing showed Elliott to have a full-scale IQ of 77, which is considered borderline mentally impaired.

Elliott has been in the Boyd County Detention Center since June 18, 2012. The 21 months he has already spent in custody will count toward his sentence.

Other defendants sentenced Friday in Boyd Circuit Court were:

Amy Mullins, 31, of Flatwoods, 10 years for drug trafficking.

William Foreman, 38, of Ashland, five years for robbery.

Michael Sparks, 51, of Ashland, five years for drug trafficking and possession of methamphetamine precursor.

David Prince, 29, of Grayson, three years for possession of meth precursor.

Brent Johnson, 35, of Grayson, two years for drug possession.

Steven Clark, 36, of Grayson, five years for possession of meth precursor.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.