Caretaking boyfriend DONALD REESER has been charged with first degree murder in the drowning death of his girlfriend's two-year-old daughter. Charges are partially based on the testimony of Reeser's five-year-old son, who was apparently warned to keep quiet as to what he had witnessed.
NEW: DA charges Reeser with murder
By M. Scott Carter
The Moore American
The man accused in the drowning death of a 2-year-old girl was charged with first degree murder, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said last week.
Mashburn said Donald Reeser, 29, was charged with first degree murder by using unreasonable force in the drowning death of 2-year-old Allie Croom.
Croom died last Thursday at a Midwest City hospital.
“He was so rough with this child in the water that it caused her to drown,” Mashburn said. “Whether or not he was trying to kill her or torture her remains to be seen. But either way, he’s guilty of murder in the first degree.”
Reeser, the boyfriend of Allie Croom’s mother, is being held in the Cleveland County Detention Center on a $1 million bond. Mashburn said he decided to file the charges after visiting the crime scene and talking with a witness.
“Based in part on a forensic interview with one of the child witnesses and based on information given to me by the Oklahoma City Police Department, I felt that we had the information necessary to file the charges,” he said.
Mashburn said he and “a couple of staff members” from his office went to the crime scene last week. “We took some measurements, looked at some of the information from the Oklahoma City police detectives.”
Additionally, the state medical examiner ruled Croom’s drowning was the result of a homicide.
The girl’s mother claimed Allie was fine when the group left the water. She said after they returned to their car, the child began throwing up water.
Mashburn said that claim didn’t agree with the facts. He said the testimony of a 5-year-old witness played a key role in his decision to file murder charges.
“The facts that we have, and the crime scene, do not lead itself to a dry downing situation. The 5-year-old said he saw Reeser — his biological father — take the 2-year-old victim into what he called the deeper part, which we now know is about two feet deep. From what he described, (Reeser) continued to drown the victim repeatedly and, as she was screaming, continued to do that until the victim wasn’t screaming anymore.”
After the child died, Mashburn said, Reeser attempted “to cover his tracks by telling the 5-year-old to say it was an accident.”
He said the 5-year-old’s testimony corroborated the evidence.“We are very confident that, in the evidence that we were able to gain from him, that he did witness what he said he saw. It matches with the other physical evidence at the scene.”
While Mashburn said Reeser was the only person he was charging Friday, he said he had not ruled out the possibility of charging others.
“At this point in time that’s all the people we’re filing charges on today. We have not ruled out the possibility of maybe charging some other people, but I’m not going into to that at this point. Still, as we continue to gather information, certainly, we’re going to be looking at anyone else who had a part to play in this and hold them criminally responsible as well.”
Mashburn said he had yet to decide whether to ask for the death penalty.
“The death penalty is a very real possibility at this point. But we will continue to look at everything before I make that decision.”