MANSFIELD – Allison Nething, 20, was sentenced to 11 years in prison Wednesday with no chance of early after she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter last month.
Judge James DeWeese sentenced Nething in connection with the death of 2-year-old Marley Milner.
Additionally, Nething was ordered to pay $1,000 restitution to Marley’s grandparents Paul and Debbie Konczak and will participate in five years of post-release control, where she will be supervised by parole officers. If she violates it seriously enough, she could be sent to prison for an additional 5 1/2 years.
An Ontario graduate with no previous criminal record, Nething was babysitting Marley Milner on April 5, 2016 when the toddler sustained injuries that led to her death. The woman was originally charged with murder and two counts of child endangerment.
Marley, the daughter of Margaret Konczak and Jayson Milner, was taken to OhioHealth Mansfield by a family member and then flown to Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, where she died. The Richland County Coroner's office described the cause of death as blunt force head trauma.
“In short, her injury was so severe that this could have been done in an emergency room with brain surgeons standing by at the ready and they could not have saved her,” said Richland County prosecutor Gary Bishop.
He described the injury as an “extremely massive blow to her head.” Marley’s relatives would later add that if “by miracle” the toddler had lived, Marley would have been wheelchair-bound, blind and unable to eat on her own.
According to Bishop, there was no chance the incident was a result of an earlier injury or something like an acute brain hemorrhage, which would take place over several days.
“All the experts agree, Marley became almost immediately unconscious and never regained consciousness,” Bishop said. “When this injury was inflicted, she was basically killed at that time. So she went from being an active, alert, playful, loving 2 ½-year-old little girl to dead in the space of an afternoon, really in the space of a few minutes.”
He considered bringing a doll into the courtroom to demonstrate how much force such injuries would have required, but didn’t for fear that it would have damaged the courtroom.
“This was done intentionally. It wasn’t done with the intention of killing Marley, but it was done with the intention of harming her,” Bishop said.
Before DeWeese sentenced the almost 21-year-old woman, he heard from both Nething’s and Milner’s family.
Nething’s grandmother doesn’t believe her granddaughter’s actions were intentional.
“I can’t make anyone believe me, but I know in my heart that Alli did not intentionally hurt anybody,” she said.
Former Ontario council president and the family’s pastor also spoke on Nething’s behalf. He’s known the family for more than six years.
“Those people who know Alli, know that she wouldn’t harm a flea and even cries when one of her animals is sick. Not for one minute do I believe what happened to Marley was intentional,” he said.
Marley’s aunt Sarah Konczak-Crabtree says she counts every day since Marley’s been gone. Wednesday marked one year, eight months and 27 days.
“Lifelong doctor’s visits and therapy sessions will never help. What Allison has caused cannot be fixed,” Konczak said.
She recalled several happy memories with Marley, but says these are overshadowed by the pain she knows her niece endured.
“Allison feels no remorse for hurting and killing Marley. She laughs and smiles at my family like nothing ever happened. She has taken away an innocent baby’s life, and there will never be any forgiveness for that.”
She and another of Marley’s aunts, Natalie King, believe 11 years in prison isn’t enough for Nething.
“I’m not at all satisfied with the consequences that she is facing, but I’d never been satisfied with any consequences she could ever meet legal or otherwise, no matter how severe,” King said.
In addition to Marley’s death, she also blames Nething for the death of her sister and Marley’s mother, Margaret.
“My sister Maggie absolutely died of a broken heart,” King said.
Marley’s grandfather, Paul Konczak and her uncle Robert Krabtree both called Nething a “monster.”
“She was such a beautiful and kind child, I firmly believe only a monster could have done what has been done. I will never understand how someone could have hurt such a precious, innocent child,” Krabtree said.
Finding true happiness is no longer possible for his family, according to Krabtree. Holidays are much different than before.
“It has been extremely difficult for my family, seeing her free for as long as she’s been. She’s spent holidays and birthdays with her family. Those were taken from us. She spent Christmas with her family, there were two empty chairs at our table,” he said.
Another family member told Judge DeWeese that she’s spent the past two Christmas seasons crying with her mother.
“In 11 years, she’ll sit with her family again, but Maggie and Marley will never celebrate and will never sit with us again,” Krabtree said.