Five years for man who stabbed son

By Jane Beathard

April 24, 2014

A London man who stabbed his toddler son during a confrontation with police last fall will spend the next five years in prison, following sentencing in Madison County Common Pleas Court.

Jonathan Davis, 32, was convicted in January of felony child endangering after entering an Alford guilty plea to the charge. An Alford plea allowed Davis to maintain his innocence, but acknowledged prosecution evidence was overwhelming.

County prosecutor Steve Pronai dropped an additional charge of felonious assault as part of a plea bargain.

During an emotional hearing on Thursday, April 24, Davis apologized for his actions on Sept. 28 that resulted in a serious, but non-fatal stab wound to his then 19-month-old son.

City police and sheriff’s deputies confronted Davis at the rear of Oak Hill Cemetery on London’s east side, following a 9-1-1 call from the man’s former girlfriend and mother of the child. She told authorities Davis had threatened to kill himself and the boy.

A police report said Davis held a knife to the child as officers approached and refused orders to put the weapon down. He attempted to flee and was felled by a Taser. The boy suffered an abdominal puncture wound in the fray.

In sworn testimony on Thursday, the mother said Davis never intended to harm the child and the wound stemmed from police Tasing and the fall.

She said her call to 9-1-1 was an effort to protect Davis from harming himself.

She asked Judge Eamon Costello to place Davis on probation and blamed the man’s erratic behavior on the couple’s break-up and his anti-depressant drugs — especially Paxil. Defense attorney Mike Murray presented documentation regarding the side effects of Paxil that included suicidal tendencies.

She said the child missed his father and suffered psychological harm as a result of Davis’ absence. Davis has been in Tri-County Regional Jail since the September incident.

However, Pronai noted the woman’s testimony on Thursday contradicted her written statement at the time of the incident.

Pronai said Davis wielded a knife and used the child as a shield, forcing officers to deploy Tasers instead of side arms.

“He (Davis) should be dead right now,” Pronai said.

Costello also noted the mother’s discrepancies.

In September statements, she indicated it was concern for her child’s safety — not that of Davis — that led her to initially call police, he said.

The judge also said the use of illegal drugs played a role in Davis’ behavior.

“As a father, you have a sacred duty to protect your child,” Costello told Davis.

Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 16 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.