After several days in court, a jury has found Doug Hunt, 34, homeless of Portsmouth, guilty for the murder of 6-year-old Tyler Joseph “TJ” Caudill.
Hunt was found guilty of all charges including aggravated murder, murder and three counts of child endangering.
TJ was the son of Michael Caudill, 28, of South Shore, Kentucky and Margarita White.
White and her boyfriend Hunt were both charged in the murder. White entered a plea of guilty last week.
Throughout the trial, jurors learned that Caudill, whose remains were found Nov. 13, 2016, in a black plastic bag outside a residence located at 1522 Mabert Rd., in Portsmouth, had died in room 36 of the Royal Inn in Portsmouth. White, who testified on Thursday, explained that she found her son blue and did not know what to do, so she placed her son’s body in a cooler and then transported it to Mabert Road.
The body was later removed from the cooler and thrown under a table top propped against the adjacent house. During her testimony, White argued that Hunt had helped her to move the body; however, she stated that she did not know if Hunt had killed her son. She also was unable to answer if someone else had killed her son. Autopsy revealed that the child’s arm was broken; however, White was unable to say how the injury occurred.
In her testimony, White also admitted to prosecutor Julie Hutchinson that she and Hunt had sex in the showers at the Scioto County Jail after being arrested for her son’s murder.
Throughout the four-day trial, the court learned that White and Hunt had been raising Caudill and their other two children on the run, moving from place to place in the final months of Caudill’s life. They had been homeless, while White panhandled for money to keep the family in hotel rooms or in a camper. Witness testimony also explained that both White and Hunt were using drugs including intravenously shooting Suboxone.
Experts spoke on Caudill’s autism, explaining that routine would have been important for the child. While White and Hunt were moving the children from one location to another, they also separated Caudill from his father and paternal and maternal grandparents. These family members contacted police, notifying them that Caudill was missing. They also notified child protective services. After no contact with Caudill for several months, the family was able to help law enforcement arrest White.
Scioto County Common Pleas Judge William Marshall sentenced Hunt to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Defense attorney Gene Meadows is expected to file an appeal on behalf of his client.
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