When Sheila Clark came home from work last Friday in Hanover Township, a rural town near Cincinnati, she found her disabled 18-year-old daughter, Ashley, bound, gagged, bruised and bleeding. Her hair had been cut off. Her assailants had doused her with water and forced her to walk barefoot through the snow in the yard. They had clubbed her repeatedly with a baseball bat. And when they were through torturing her after perhaps six hours, Cheyenne Blanton, 17, and Joseph Nagle, 16, fled, leaving a trail of footprints in the snow for the police to track. They were arrested that same afternoon and charged as juveniles with felony counts of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, assault and vandalism. According to the New York Times, “prosecutors said they expected the court to approve a request to try them as adults, given their ages, records and the seriousness of the charges.” They could face seventy-five years to life in prison.
Blanton and Nagle, parents of a baby boy, have had run-ins with the law in the past. Both have been convicted on domestic-violence charges and probation violations, and Nagle was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon. Both have spent time in detention. Nagle had a court appearance scheduled on Friday to answer to charges of “unruly behavior” brought by his parents.
According to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, the assailants hid overnight in the Clarks’ basement; they had planned to steal Sheila’s car, aiming to skip town before Nagle’s court appearance. When they learned that Sheila had taken the car to work on Friday morning, the AP reports, the two “went into the kitchen to get something to eat before going upstairs and waking her daughter.”
Why they stuck around and proceeded to attack Ashley so viciously is beyond me. That’s a question for the mental health experts, who I hope will shed some light on this awful crime. I’d be interested to know what case officers had to say about the mental health of these two while they were in detention. What was their treatment regimen, if any? And when it came time to determine eligibility for parole, who decided they were safe for release? (I assume after-care was barely an afterthought.)
Blanton and Nagle are being held in juvenile detention and are set to appear in court later this week with court-appointed attorneys. “I want full justice for my daughter,” said Sheila Clark, who, along with Jones, is pushing for adult charges. “Those two never need to walk the streets again.”