Fletcher on trial for involuntary manslaughter


By Meladi Brewer


GREENVILLE — Ashlee Fletcher appeared for a jury trial for a two count indictment Monday in the Darke County Common Pleas Court for involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree, and endangering children, a felony of the third degree. Judge Travis L. Fliehman presided.

Fletcher, 38, of Greenville, was accused of the charges following the death of her eldest son in June of last year. Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Quigley advised the jury that he had been diagnosed with type one diabetes in January 2016. From there Fletcher had been instructed with proper training on how to properly care for her son.

“She was trained on how to deal with a child with type one diabetes, and how important it was to monitor that child,” Quigley said. “With that diagnosis, the doctor wanted to see him regularly every three to four months.”

Quigley advised that in 2017 there were concerns regarding the family involvement with his treatment, and in 2018 there were concerns with the number of times they saw the doctor. In 2019, the son had one office visit for the whole year.

“In July of 2020 he was admitted to the hospital for what was called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA),” Quigley said.

DKA is a serious complication of diabetes that can be life-threatening. During the episode, he experienced nausea and vomiting. They were able to stabilize him, and nurses, doctors, and social workers stressed to Fletcher that “it is important that someone monitor his treatment.”

From there, his appointment was missing in September 2020, and they met with a social worker in January 2021 where they talked about supervision with treatment. The appointments were canceled in April and May of that year, and the 14-year-old male was hospitalized in June for DKA again.

“Vomiting, nausea, and being taken to the hospital. His sugar is out of control,” Quigley said.

Once out of the hospital, the appointments in August and September were canceled. Quigley said a social worker called again in November to “question Fletcher about missed appointments, and she claimed she didn’t realize she had missed so many.”

“February 2022, he is admitted to the hospital again with DKA. His sugar is out of control with vomiting and nausea,” Quigley said.

In March, he goes to an office visit after his hospital stay. Fletcher was told she is the custodial parent “and is the one with all the say.”

“Again she is told ‘you have to do this, you have to monitor him. Make sure he is checking his sugar,’” Quigley said.

In June 2022, the young male went to visit his father, and his dexcom had registered at 400 for quite some time. Quigley said the sugar had come down some, but on the weekend it spiked again while the father was at work.

“The dad gets a hold of Fletcher, who’s at work, and tells her their son wants to go to the hospital. He is sick and needs to go,” Quigley said. “Her response was ‘it’s a stomach bug. Just bring him to me.’”

Quigley said that Fletcher advised the dad that the son does this all the time, and she will take care of him if he brings him to her. The son had been vomiting and was unable to keep food down since the episode started.

When the dad got home from work as an overnight truck driver, he had to carry their son to his car and then carry him to Fletcher’s car where she proceeded to take him home.

“The dad will testify he said the boy needed to go to the hospital. He will tell you that he doesn’t think he can take him because she is the custodial parent. He has no rights,” Quigley said.

Quigley said the dad pays child support but has never been to court for any visitation, and he believes she has all the power and needs to take him. Fletcher brought her son back to her house, helped him inside, and laid him on the couch because he couldn’t make it to his upstairs bedroom. He couldn’t keep food down and continuously threw up.

“According to her statements to law enforcement, she’s up with him all night. He’s sick until about 3 or 4 a.m.,” Quigley said.

Quigley said Fletcher went to bed between three and four. The male’s dexcom only registers to 400, and his sugar levels were over 400 until around 3 to 4 a.m. when it stops recording. Fletcher did not get up until around 1:15 p.m. the next day.

“When she comes down and finds him on the couch, and he’s not breathing. What’s the first thing she does? She takes his picture,” Quigley said.

Fletcher then proceeds across the street to her neighbors and asks them to go over and look at her son. When they arrived, they told her to call 911. Quigley said testimonies will show that when paramedics arrived there was no heartbeat, his extremities were cold to the touch, but because it was a child, they started working on him.

They got his heart beat going with a machine, and he was eventually transferred all the way to Dayton Children’s where dad shows up. At 8 p.m. when visitation ended, Fletcher left the hospital and dad stayed. That next morning, they both agreed to take the child off life support, and their son was pronounced dead.

Quigley advised the jury the evidence will show that Fletcher is guilty of endangering a child through medical neglect, thus leading to involuntary manslaughter as a result. Fletcher’s Defense Attorney David Rohrer told the jury there is one question and one fact he wanted them to pay close attention to throughout the case.

“Here is the one fact that I want you to determine. The doctor said he had three episodes alone this year that required medical treatment at the hospital that could have been prevented,” Rohrer said.

He continued to say they had called Child Protective Services in February 2022 to report medical neglect. She said no one from CPS called back to report what had been done.

“Caleb would be present today if children services did their damn job,” Rohrer said.

Rohrer said CPS had the ability and saw what was going on with the male minor, and if they had done their job, it wouldn’t have been good for his client.

“Children Services may have taken him away from her. They could have taken him away from his parents, and that’s what they could have done to take care of the child in medical neglect,” Rohrer said.

He said he doesn’t like what went on and the jury may not either, and strongly believes no one would because “a 14-year-old, innocent child had a terrible disease.”

“That is for medical professionals, for school officials, and for parents to make sure that child is being treated right, and that child was not being treated right,” Rohrer said.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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