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Ohio mom pleads guilty to allowing abuse of son

Jun. 18, 2013 @ 01:30 PM

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — An Ohio mother shook and wept as she pleaded guilty to charges that she allowed an ex-boyfriend to beat her 14-year-old son to death in front of his younger twin brothers.

The mother, 32-year-old Shain Widdersheim, pleaded guilty Monday in Mahoning County to four counts of child endangering and one count of obstruction of justice in the January death of her son, Teddy Foltz, and the abuse of her younger sons who prosecutors said witnessed the fatal beating.

Widdersheim’s ex-boyfriend, 42-year-old Zaryl Bush, is accused of beating and torturing Teddy and his brothers over at least two years. His trial is scheduled to start Monday.

Prosecutors said Bush punched Teddy, made him stand outside until he was frostbitten, walk on hot coals, and slammed his head into walls.

Widdersheim, of Struthers, sobbed through the Monday hearing before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum. Her parents were in the courtroom and also wept as she pleaded guilty to the charges.

Prosecutors have recommended a 10-year prison term when a judge sentences her later, following a pre-sentence investigation.

Bush is charged with murder and felonious assault for the attack on Teddy on Jan. 21 that led to his death Jan. 26. He also faces charges of child endangering, intimidating a witness and tampering with evidence.

Rebecca Doherty, an assistant county prosecutor, said an involuntary-manslaughter charge against Widdersheim was dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Doherty said Widdersheim was not present during the attack that resulted in Teddy’s death. When Bush called her and told her the boy was unconscious, she returned home and made sure her son got medical attention, Doherty said. She has cooperated since she was arrested, and police also were satisfied with her cooperation.

“I’m happy she came to terms that she did something wrong,” said Sara Foltz, Widdersheim’s mother. “But it won’t bring my grandson back.”
Foltz said she is trying to get custody of the twins