CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - “No one has come forward for Lorenzo Ealom. No one has come forward to say his death was wrong,” prosecutor Kristin Karkutt told a packed courtroom.
It is an observation that came up over and over in court at the sentencing of his mother Tessa Gadd, as well as the sentencing for her boyfriend John Hines.
“The courtroom is full of people here to support Mr. Hines, but it is severely lacking in those to support Lorenzo, and today should be about Lorenzo,” she continued.
The sad reality is outside of court, when the boy was still alive, Ealom had come up.
His grandmother, Sherdina Ealom, told 19 News 18 months ago she had called “696-KIDS” about the child’s treatment and drug use in the home.
But Gadd fooled them.
“She had 'em come to her mother’s house off Glendale and act like she was living there so they went there and they saw no nothing,” she claimed.
Even his day care had a long list of violations. It is now under new management and a new name.
“I made a big mistake,” was about all Gadd could muster in court, no mention of her son by name.
Prosecutors pointed out that a suboxone blood level of two can kill an adult male. Ealom’s level was five.
Hines’ attorney, Mark Marin, admitted the obvious.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that children cannot be in a place where there are illicit drugs. We understand that.”
Judge Michael Shaughnessy called the drug trade an evil that parents have a duty to protect children from, saying the pair had brought the evil into Ealom’s home.
In the end, the theme of who speaks for Ealom was painfully evident when Hines spoke.
“I want to say I’m sorry for everything that happened to the family, the family and the court.”
The judge shot back.
“Well, I think we’re forgetting Lorenzo. Nobody has spoken up for Lorenzo. What a tragedy.”
Both Gadd and Hines were sentenced to four years in prison.