Piqua man accused of burning daughter’s face found guilty of child abuse

TROY - A Miami County jury Friday found a Piqua man guilty of domestic violence and child abuse of his 9-year-old daughter who told jurors he threatened to kill her.

Selemani Said, 38, was on trial Thursday and Friday in a case that was described by defense lawyer John Meeling as a “classic he said, she said” situation.

The jury deliberated approximately one hour before returning the verdicts in county Common Pleas Court.

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The jury Thursday heard testimony from the girl, who lives out of state with relatives, and Friday from Said, who said he did not mistreat his daughter.

Piqua police said they were told Said was angry with his daughter after she attended a birthday party earlier this year and a photo of her was posted on social media. The photo showed the girl linking arms with a boy she knew.

Said was charged with domestic violence when he allegedly dragged the girl by her hair through a hallway Feb. 1 after she fled their apartment. The girl said she was hit multiple times, called names and feared for her life. A neighbor also testified she heard Said threaten to kill the girl.

He testified that his statement, instead, was a question to his daughter because he was upset when he couldn’t find her in the apartment. When he saw her in the hallway, “I told her, ‘Do you want to kill me by giving me a heart attack?” he testified. He didn’t like the social media photo, but it wasn’t enough to make him hurt his daughter, Said told Paul Watkins, first assistant county prosecuting attorney.

“I don’t want my daughter to touch any boys. What is wrong with that?” Said testified.

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In the second charge, Said was accused of child abuse for allegedly heating a knife on a stove in November and holding it against the girl’s face, causing scars.

Piqua Police Officer Kiersten Zimmerman testified she responded to the Feb. 1 call. After eventually being able to talk to the girl without her father present, she was told the burn occurred after her father became angry with a laundry basket left behind on a trip to the laundromat and her allegedly locking keys in a car.

Said told the jury the girl roller skated around their apartment frequently and fell, suffering a rug burn to her face.

He accused those who work in “victim awareness” of coaching his daughter on what to say.

A video from Zimmerman’s body camera showed officers’ interactions Feb. 1 with the girl and her father.

Judge Jeannine Pratt read the verdicts before ordering a presentence investigation. Sentencing was scheduled for Oct. 7.

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