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Details emerge in case of woman charged with manslaughter in death of 18-month-old son in Dayton

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

A Northern Kentucky woman charged with manslaughter in the death of her 18-month old son faced a Campbell County district judge Wednesday.

Schuchart (photo courtesy of the Campbell County Detention Center).

Judge Karen Thomas followed procedure in entering a plea of not guilty of the charge of first-degree manslaughter on behalf of Stacey Schuchart in the death of Sean Buttery, Jr. on August 16.

Schuchart, 29, was arrested on Sept. 13, and appeared Thursday via video monitor from the Campbell County Detention Center.

The injuries that are believed to have led to the child’s death were reported following an incident at a home in Dayton, Kentucky.

According to court records, on Friday, Aug. 16, first responders were called to an address in the 400 block of Fifth Avenue.

At that time, court documents indicate Schuchart told paramedics her son hit his head on a microwave.

Despite efforts to resuscitate the child, who had lacerations, bruises and other visible injuries, Buttery, Jr., was subsequently pronounced dead at the hospital.

Reports indicate Schuchart told police that only she and her three-year-old daughter were home at the time of the incident.

According to a report, Schuchart said the boy’s father left for work before the child was injured and police later confirmed that Sean Buttery, Sr. was not home at the time of the incident.

District Judge Karen Thomas describes the injuries suffered by 18-month-old Sean Buttery Jr. The child’s mother, Stacey Schuchart, is charged with manslaughter, first degree in his death (photos by Mark Hansel).

The coroner’s report also stated that the three-year-old could not have contributed to the injuries.

Reading form a coroner’s report, Thomas stated Butters, Jr., suffered “significant traumatic injury that was entirely inconsistent with a child hitting his forehead on the microwave. While there was a bruise on the child’s head that could have been caused by the incident described, this minor injury played no role in the child’s death.”

Thomas said the report indicates the child suffered serious injuries throughout the body. The coroner reported that these injuries are unlike any she has ever witnessed to occur during an accident in the home. “They are consistent with the level of trauma you would expect in a serious car accident.”

Again reading from the report Thomas said, “This child sustained four fractures to the pelvis, two to the front, two in the back. The child’s bladder was detached from his skeletal system, internal bleeding…several other serious injuries were found by the coroner, including other fractures and damage to the child’s head and skull.

The coroner ruled the death a homicide. 

Schuchart appeared in court Wednesday from the Campbell County Detention Center on a video monitor.

“At this point the court has reason to believe the incident likely to have occurred on the Friday the child died,” Thomas said. “I am going to enter a plea of not guilty for you and set the matter for a preliminary hearing.”

Judge Thomas set bond in the case at $1 million, which she said is based on the magnitude of the offense, the intentional injuries alleged and that Schuchart is a flight risk.

Schuchart’s criminal record includes charges of bail jumping, first degree, and probation violation, which Thomas said is sufficient to find as a flight risk. Additional felonies on Schuchart’s record include identity theft.

Schuchart indicated she could not afford an attorney and Thomas appointed a public advocate, who requested alternative monitoring, such as an ankle bracelet.

“Absolutely not. I’ve made my ruling,” Thomas said.

If convicted of manslaughter, first degree, Schuchart faces 10 to 20 years in prison. She is next scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 26 at 1 p.m.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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