Father Enters Plea in 5-Year Old Girl’s Death
The father of a 5-year-old Stark County, Ohio girl found dead in her family’s restaurant enters a plea.
34-year-old Liang Zhao, of Jackson Township, pleaded guilty on Monday to several charges in Stark County Common Pleas Court.
Zhao was convicted of obstructing justice, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and two counts of endangering children as part of the plea agreement with Stark County Prosecutors.
As part of the dal, prosecutors dropped a murder charge against Zhao and he agreed to testify against his wife, Mingming Chen, at trial.
His trial was set to begin Monday before Judge Chryssa Hartnett. Zhao is expected to be formally sentenced to 12 years in prison with early release possible after serving six years, once his wife’s trial concludes.
Investigators have accused Chen of punching her five-year-old daughter, Ashley, several times in the head. They allege that when Zhao found the child on the floor, he tried to hide the body after unsuccessfully attempting CPR.
Police explained the couple concealed the body somewhere inside their restaurant, Ang’s Asian Cuisine on Portage Street NW, before reporting her missing.
Chen faces about 30 years to life in prison if convicted, but prosecutors have noted the death penalty does not apply.
Michaela Madison Reporting