Judge sentences Austintown man for beating kids with cords

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Betts was arrested in January of 2019 after school officials at Austintown Elementary School notified police of whip marks they found on the arm and shoulder of a five-year-old child

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — An Austintown man accused of beating two school-aged relatives was sentenced Friday in Mahoning County Pleas Court to two years in prison.

Judge Maureen Sweeney upheld an agreed-upon sentence in the case for Jeremy L. Betts, 34, of Edinburgh Avenue in Austintown. He had pleaded guilty to two-second degree felony counts of endangering children.

The two years will run consecutive to a one-year federal sentence for a probation violation in a 2011 weapons case.

Betts was arrested in January of 2019 after school officials at Austintown Elementary School notified police of whip marks they found on the arm and shoulder of a five-year-old child. The child and the child’s sister, who had whip marks on their legs, arms and buttocks, said their aunt had hit them with a cord.

The aunt denied hitting the children with cords but did say she used a belt.

Police questioned the children and determined that it was Betts who had beat them with a cord, but they at first denied Betts had hit them because they did not want him to go back to prison.

In 2012, Betts was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to having an unregistered firearm. In 2015, he was sent back to prison for a year after he violated his probation by having another firearm that was found after he ran from a crash.

Earlier this year, Betts was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals for another probation violation, but court records do not specify what that violation was. He was sentenced to a year in prison in June for that violation.

Last year, Betts had originally entered an Alford Plea in the case, which means while he was denying the charges against him, he was admitting a reasonable person could conclude there was enough evidence to convict him. He withdrew that plea and changed lawyers in December before entering his guilty pleas in June.

He also filed a motion Thursday in federal court asking to be released from custody so he could attend his mother’s funeral. That motion has yet to be ruled on.

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