After a morning consumed by the jury selection process, the child death trial of Edward Cole Jr., of Wheeling, got under way Wednesday before Ohio County Circuit Judge James Mazzone.
Assistant Prosecutor Jenna Perkins and Defense Attorney Mark Panepinto presented opening arguments in a case that will determine whether Cole is responsible for the March 4, 2012, death of his three-year-old daughter, Patience.
A grand jury indicted Cole Jr., 39, and his wife, Cindy Cole, 28, in May on single counts of child neglect resulting in death. The child died March 4, 2012, after allegedly ingesting her father's prescription pills at the family home on Wheeling Island.
Both suspects turned themselves in during docket day proceedings May 23.
Cindy Cole posted $50,000 bond and was released from the Northern Regional Jail, while her husband has remained incarcerated on an identical bond amount.
Mazzone modified Edward Cole's bond in June to $10,000 through a bondsman and $40,000 personal recognizance after Panepinto said online threats have been directed at his client and, due to Cole's physical condition, is at great risk of injury while he is housed at the jail.
According to Panepinto, a cancer diagnosis forced doctors to remove a portion of the left side of Cole's skull, as well as his left eye. Cole no longer has a plate protecting that portion of his brain, Panepinto said.
"I think Mr. Cole is at extreme risk in the Northern Regional Jail, especially given the fact that he has a brain exposure which is highly susceptible to injury," Panepinto said "Should he be punched, kicked- anything along those lines -it might cause him substantial injury."
Mazzone also ordered Cole be placed on supervised release while residing at his mother's home in North Wheeling.
Cole and his wife relinquished their parental rights to their other children following their daughter's death.