‘I’d like to say I’m sorry’

A Marietta man was sentenced Tuesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to the maximum three years in prison for negligently allowing a Beverly toddler in his care to drown in a bathtub.

Joshua D. Sciance, 26, of 111 W. Montgomery St. Lot 12, pleaded guilty Sept. 27 to a third-degree felony count of child endangerment.

The maximum sentence was in contrast to the six months recommended by Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

“We’re not opposed to community control and we’re not opposed to judicial release after six months,” Schneider said.

He and Sciance’s attorney, Ray Smith, agreed that Sciance would be a good candidate for a rehabilitation program, such as that offered at SEPTA Correctional Facility.

Sciance had been drinking heavily March 18, the day he left 23-month-old Connar Hilton and his 3-year-old sister unattended in a bath tub for around 20 minutes.

Sciance, then the live-in boyfriend of the children’s mother, had been watching Hilton and his sister at their Beverly home while their mother was working.

At the time of the boy’s death, Sciance told officers he had consumed eight 16-ounce beers since 2 p.m. that day. He reportedly put the children in the bath around 8 p.m. and left them while he cooked and ate a pizza.

The 911 call was made around 9:15 p.m.

“There is a demonstrated pattern of alcohol abuse that is directly related to this event,” admonished Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane.

The victim’s great-grandmother told Sciance during the hearing that she was haunted by the memory of seeing Connar lying in a coffin on his second birthday.

Smith said Sciance is the most remorseful client he has ever defended.

“He’s never said ‘Let’s have a trial and fight this.’ He’s had guilt every day as a result of this,” he said.

Sciance had tried to revive the boy and had thought he had succeeded, said Smith.

However, the child was only kept alive by life support at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

He died the next day, the result of injuries sustained in a near drowning, according to a pathologist.

Sciance spoke briefly Tuesday, turning to address the boy’s great-grandmother and a handful of others in the courtroom.

“I’d like to say I’m sorry for what has happened. I am here today to accept my consequences,” he said.

The incident was not Sciance first brush with the law, noted Lane.

He listed Sciance’s previous charges: two juvenile convictions for theft and adult convictions for underage consumption, disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing and criminal damaging.

Though Lane had mentioned the possibility of restitution at sentencing, none was ordered.