Judge gives max sentence, calls killing of 1-year-old ‘just plain evil’

Joshua Alan Mize

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Joshua Alan Mize

A Miami County judge Friday sentenced a Bradford man to a maximum sentence of 18 to 23½ years in prison in the September death of a 1-year-old Bradford girl, telling Joshua Mize his actions in abusing the child “were just plain evil.”

Mize, 30, was released from prison in May 2021 after a Clark County drug charge. He was arrested four months later in the death of Caelyn Colon. She died at Dayton Children’s Hospital after Bradford medics responded around 6:15 p.m. Sept. 14 to a home on East Vine Street on the report of a child not breathing.

Mize initially was charged with murder in the death but later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, child endangering, tampering with evidence and theft in county Common Pleas Court.

A plea deal was made because of conflicting opinions a jury would have heard in testimony, Miami County Prosecutor Anthony Kendell said Friday. That’s because a deputy Montgomery County coroner changed his opinion on the cause of death from homicide to accidental.

“The prosecution in this case developed unforeseen risks as it progressed,” Kendell said. “The unprecedented change of opinion severely undermined certain elements of the case. The risk of defendant Mize going unpunished as a result of an expert witness providing two separate, contradicting opinions was, in my judgment unacceptable.”

Prosecutors chose to allow Mize to plead to a lesser charge and jointly recommended with the defense a term of 15 to 19 years in prison.

Judge Jeannine Pratt said that recommendation wasn’t taken lightly, but her independent evaluation of evidence led her to reject it.

“I have struggled with this case,” Pratt said to a courtroom filled with relatives and friends of Caelyn Colon, as well as with heavy security. She called Mize’s actions “the ultimate crime.”

“The sticking point for me is the harm that was caused. It is overwhelming me,” Pratt said, saying she had lost sleep over the case she saw as a homicide, not an accident. “I am a mother and consider it my most important role … I would go to battle for them … Your actions were just plain evil.”

Before hearing the sentence, Mize said he would change things if he could. “It is a tragedy … that’s what happened,” he said.

Pratt also heard from grandparents of Caelyn who said they now are raising her two young brothers who also were in the home when Mize, who had moved in with the children’s mother, was babysitting. The grandparents asked that Mize remain in prison at least until the boys are grown to help protect them and other women and children from him.

“We never want another family to have to go through this,” the grandmother said.

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