On the day that would have been Dylan Groves’ first birthday, Daniel and Jessica Groves were found guilty.
In the State of Ohio v. Jessica and Daniel Groves, both were found guilty Friday evening. The mother, Jessica Groves was found guilty on all 11 charges; aggravated murder, murder, child endangerment, kidnapping, tampering with evidence, interference with custody, gross abuse of a corpse, and four charges of felonious assault. Daniel Groves Sr. was found guilty on 10 of the 11 charges. The jury found Groves Sr. not guilty on the first charge of aggravated murder. Jessica was sentenced to life in prison without parole and Daniel received 47 years to life.
The final day of testimonies began with Jessica, who gave a tear-filled account while being questioned by the prosecutor, Julie Hutchinson. Jessica stated, “I don’t remember,” to several questions regarding the details of Dylan’s death.
“I don’t remember. Nothing that I ever did was intentional,” Jessica said to the court.
Jessica testified that she would never hurt her child. At one moment, the mother succumbed to tears and said, “When he died a part of me died.”
“Answer the question. How did Dylan die?” Hutchinson demanded at one point.
Jessica yelled back to Hutchinson stating she was not speaking to her anymore.
“I’m done talking to you,” Jessica Groves said. “You have devoured my family.”
Little information was gained about Dylan’s death. Throughout the rest of the prosecution’s questioning Groves continued to repeat that she didn’t remember, or any injury was an accident.
Daniel Groves claimed he was told and believed his wife was going to her prenatal appointments. He stated he learned she was pregnant weeks after she did.
In her testimony, Jessica stated she learned in early October 2018 that she was pregnant while her husband did not find out until late October. It wasn’t until the drive to the hospital on the day of their second son’s birth that Daniel said, Jessica confessed she had been using drugs and had not attended her prenatal appointments.
After the child was returned to the Groves, Daniel stated he never witnessed her hurting their child. Although he stated, he believed the child cried more than usual, but didn’t believe anyone was hurting Dylan. He went along with her early testimony, stating accidents hurt Dylan, such as a dream catcher falling and bruising the child in February.
During cross-examination Groves Sr. confessed, he witnessed the mother aggressively picking up the child from his crib. The prosecutors suggested that action could be the cause of the first injury, left ribs six and seven being broken. The defendant would go on to admit at one point he observed his wife hit Dylan on the head four times.
When asked by prosecutors and defense attorneys why he didn’t call for help after discovering Dylan dead, he told the court he was “very afraid,” of what his wife was telling him. Groves Sr. claimed his wife convinced him to help hide the body, because Dylan was returned to his care, so it would be his fault.
Out of fear and her “forceful” instructions, Daniel claimed he agreed to help. Prosecutor Shane Tieman stated, “you failed to act.” Pointing out that Groves Sr. didn’t call 911, Children Services, Andrea Bowling (Foster Mother), or contact anyone regarding his wife’s actions toward their now deceased son.
Once closing statements were finished, the jury was released to deliberate. After about two and a half hours the jury returned with a verdict and found both defendants guilty. Tieman suggested that Jessica Groves serve life without the possibility of parole. As for Daniel Groves Sr., Tieman advised a “significant sentence before he is eligible for parole.”
Before Judge Khun presented their sentences, each defendant was given the opportunity to speak. Daniel Groves told the judge he had nothing else to say. Jessica chose to speak to the judge and said she was sorry.
“No matter what you do to me, I have to live with this everyday for the rest of my life,” Jessica said. “I’m sorry. I have failed as a mother.”
After several mergers of charges, Jessica will serve a life sentence, without parole and Daniel a sentence consisting of 47 years to life in prison.
Reach Bailey Watts (740) 353-3101 Ext 1931
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