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Ex-Springboro man already in prison now faces murder charge in child death

A former Warren County man eligible for early release from prison next month is now facing murder charges stemming from the same 2011 incident.

Jason Milby, 35, of Clearcreek Township, is already serving a prison sentence for shaking his then-fiance’s 2-year-old son into a permanent vegetative state in 2011. Now, Milby has been charged with the child’s murder.

Milby was indicted on two counts of murder, according to a list released Monday by the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office.

Milby is in Richland Correctional Institution for causing “neurologically devastating” injuries to 2-year-old Bryce Shannon while babysitting him and two of his siblings in July 2011 at their home.

In January 2013, Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Peeler sentenced Milby to eight years in prison for child endangering, the maximum sentence allowed.

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At the sentencing, Peeler said it was the worst tragedy he had seen.

“I find your conduct reprehensible…,” Peeler said during the sentencing. “It is an injustice that I can sentence someone to life for taking the life of another, but there is an eight-year maximum in a case like this, where a child’s life has been taken away with the exception of being able to breathe.”

Peeler declared a mistrial in Milby’s first trial after the jury split, six to six.

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During the trials, defense attorney Jon Paul Rion focused on the fact that no one actually witnessed what happened to the boy. He said the boy may have climbed — as he was prone to do — on the dresser in his bedroom and catapulted onto his bed and hit his head on the wall. He reminded the jury Bryce often walked in his sleep and would wind up in strange places.

The victim’s mother, Collett Shannon, married Milby and supported him at trial.

“I never once believed he did anything inside that bedroom…,” she said during the trials. “I love my kids. I always have, and they come before everybody in this world, before myself and anybody in this world.”

After the guilty verdict, Fornshell said, “Mr. Milby took this child’s life for all intents and purposes. There is nothing we can do in law enforcement to change that, so for that reason, there is no celebrating… It’s a horrible tragedy.”

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The boy, 7, was pronounced dead in the emergency room at Southview Hospital on May 24, 2016, from “lobar pneumonia due to complication of remote traumatic brain injury,” according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. Lobar refers to a lobe or part of the lung.

Milby is eligible for early release on Sept. 17.

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On Monday, Fornshell said in text messages that he was unaware of Milby’s potential release date until Monday.

Fornshell said the charges were brought now due to “various issues, including evaluating five years of medical records of a very unhealthy child (due to the original catastrophic brain injury) to rule out other causes.”

Milby is scheduled for arraignment by video on Aug. 24.

If convicted of the boy’s murder, Milby faces 15 years to life in prison.

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