The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 28, 2014

Conneaut man indicted in death of 4-year-old

JEFFERSON — A Conneaut man charged with the February death of a 4-year-old Melanie “Lanie” Powell faces the death penalty if convicted, officials said Thursday.

The Ashtabula County grand jury on Wednesday indicted Joshua Million, 25, 243 E. Main Road (downstairs) on five charges, including one that alleges death occurred as a result of a sexual assault, said County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci. Million could be arraigned April 11 on the charges in Common Pleas Court, a court spokeswoman said Thursday. That date could change, she said.

Million faces two counts of aggravated murder, and both could bring the death penalty if he is convicted, Iarocci said. Specifications attached to the charges makes one a capital case because of the victim’s age, while the other qualifies because death occurred while rape was attempted or committed, he said. A second specification attached to the latter murder charge could bring life in prison if prosecutors prove the crime was committed with a “sexual motivation,” Iarocci said.

Remaining charges are murder, rape and felonious assault, Iarocci said. Based on specifications attached to those charges, Million could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

The victim is the daughter of Million’s girlfriend, identified in court documents as Macie Powell, police said. On Feb. 6, the child was placed in Million’s care while Powell worked second shift at a Conneaut industry. When Million picked up the woman around 11 p.m., the child was in a rear car seat and “appeared to be sleeping,” according to court documents. Back at their East Main Road home, the child was unresponsive and Powell discovered an injury to her daughter’s head. When she asked Million what had happened, he replied “nothing,” according to documents.

Powell took her daughter to UH Conneaut Medical Center, police have said. Hospital staff in Conneaut contacted police. Melanie was transferred to a Cleveland hospital, where she died the following morning.

Cause of death was “blunt impact injuries of (the) head,” according to a report from the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s office.

Million told detectives he placed the child in a bathtub and then fell asleep at the kitchen table. When he awoke and checked on the girl, she was unconscious, he told police.

Iarocci declined to discuss details in the case, including how the child may have died.

“We have worked closely with police and (medical personnel) to ensure Mr. Million is convicted and receives the maximum sentence possible,” he said. “I feel we have a very strong case against Mr. Million.”

“It’s a chilling case,” Iarocci said. “Not only do our hearts go out to the family, but also to law enforcement and hospital staff who had to deal with this case.”

Million is being held in protective custody, isolated from other inmates, at the Ashtabula County jail. He was initially charged with felony child endangerment, but is being held without bond while awaiting a probation revocation hearing stemming from a 2013 traffic violation. At that time, Million was given probation on the condition he stay out of trouble for five years.

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