FULL STORY Despite his pleas for probation, a Norwalk man was sentenced Monday to four years in prison for the 2007 death of a 10-month-old boy.
Jeffrey Resor, 29, will serve just 954 days in jail — about two-and-a-half years — because he gets credit for 504 days he spent in jail when he was first charged in the death of Donavan Lykins.
An autopsy revealed that Donavan died Feb. 24, 2007, after being violently shaken.
In August 2008, a Huron County jury acquitted Resor of murder and child endangering, while jurors were also deadlocked on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Resor was released that year after serving 504 days in jail.
Huron County prosecutor Russ Leffler appealed the case to the Sixth District Court of Appeals, which sent the case back to Huron County Common Pleas Court with the understanding Resor could again be tried for involuntary manslaughter because the jury was deadlocked on that charge.
Double jeopardy laws would have prohibited the county from charging Resor with a crime for which a jury had previously acquitted him, but the jury’s deadlock was not tantamount to an acquittal, the appeals court said.
Additionally, Resor’s initial child endangering charges applied to instances where he’d allegedly abused the boy but the abuse didn’t result in death.
The child endangering charges leveled this second time around applied directly to the incident that resulted in Donavan’s death, Leffler said.
In September, rather than head to trial a second time, Resor accepted a plea agreement.
He pleaded no contest to felony child endangering and, in exchange, Leffler dismissed the involuntary manslaughter charge.
“We didn’t get the murder conviction, and the child is dead,” Leffler said. “But I hope it’s some kind of justice here.”
There were no seats available in the packed courtroom on Monday. On one side was Donavan’s family, on the other side was Resor’s.
Absent at Monday’s sentencing was the fierce drama from the August 2008 trial.
Mitch Case — a member of Donavan’s family — threatened to kill Resor that year, and even tried to assault him in court after the jury acquitted him.
On Monday, as deputies slapped handcuffs on Resor, Case jumped up and clapped loudly.
“I told you I’d get justice,” Case shouted at him.
Several sheriff’s deputies stood guard on both sides of the courtroom as other deputies ushered Resor away.
K. Ron Bailey, Resor’s attorney, assured the court that Resor has changed his life since Donavan’s death.
Resor had past convictions for domestic violence, assault, criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct, but he “has made tremendous strides in making changes in his life,” Bailey said.
Bailey asked the judge to give Resor probation, but Leffler said a three-year prison sentence was more appropriate.
“It’s a sad, sad case,” Leffler said. “It shows what a moment of rage can do. This is the kind of case where a prison sentence is simply required.”
Resor, who had been watching Donavan in a Norwalk apartment he shared with the child’s mother, Gwen Herber, expressed remorse for the boy’s death.
“I am deeply sorry for what happened, I really am,” Resor said Monday. “I tried my hardest that night to keep him breathing. I don’t know what happened.”
As a youth Resor had been diagnosed with attention and hyper-activity disorders, and he also struggled through the years to manage his temper, Leffler and Bailey said.
Resor broke down several times on Monday when Donavan’s family spoke.
“You took something from us that we’ll never get back,” said Joy Clime, Donavan’s step-grandmother. “We loved that little boy.”