In September 2017, a Common Pleas Court jury took just over an hour to find Douglas Lee Hunt, 33 of Portsmouth, guilty of the August 2016 murder of an autistic 6-year-old child who was living with him and his friend, Margarita White, the mother of the child. Ms. White entered a plea of guilty to murder and child endangering and was sentenced to 18 years to life. By a Decision filed on October 12, 2018, the 4thDistrict Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed Hunt’s conviction and sentence to life without parole with eleven years consecutively. Hunt and White were indicted in November 2016 by the Scioto County grand jury for aggravated murder, murder, three counts of child endangering, (including one count of torturing and cruelly abusing the child), one count of tampering with evidence and one count of gross abuse of a corpse. After a four-day trial, the jury convicted Hunt on all counts.
The victim, Tyler Caudill, was the son of Margarita White and Michael Caudill of South Shore. His decomposed body was found wrapped in garbage bags outside a residence on Mabert Road, in Portsmouth.
At trial the Prosecutor’s Office presented evidence that Hunt had abused the child, broken his leg when he made him stand on a bar stool until he could no longer and fell, and fractured his arm when he jerked him by the arm repeated after the child had fallen from exhaustion when he was made to stand in a corner and pace around the room back and forth for hours at a time. The child was locked in a bathroom for a week or longer at a time and not allowed to eat or drink for extended periods until he starved to death.
Testimony showed that the child was placed in a beverage cooler after he died and covered with ice. The cooler was moved, along with the two younger siblings, 8 months and 18 months of age, to various locations until the cooler and body were discovered by residents behind a house on Mabert Road.
The Appellate Court rejected all the arguments presented by Hunt and found the conviction on all counts and sentence to life without parole with eleven years consecutively proper. Hunt has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court of Ohio.