Ex-worker charged in Ohio group home death found not guilty


CINCINNATI (AP) — A former care provider charged with murder in the death of a southwestern Ohio group home resident who had Down syndrome and cerebral palsy has been found not guilty.

A judge on Tuesday also acquitted Janice Cooper of assault and manslaughter charges in 52-year-old James Zito’s 2013 death at the group home in the Cincinnati suburb of Mount Healthy where Cooper worked. A coroner ruled Zito’s death a homicide from blunt force trauma.

Authorities said the 55-year-old Woodlawn woman was the only caregiver on the overnight shift at the home for the developmentally disabled when Zito died in his room. Prosecutors accused Cooper of causing those injuries.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that a forensic neuropathologist testifying for the defense said Zito’s injuries were most consistent with an accidental fall.

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