Progress Staff Writer

PAULDING – Tristen Blair, 21, Grover Hill, was in Paulding County Commons Pleas Court for sentencing Jan. 14 on charges of burglary and reckless homicide.

Blair had pleaded guilty to burglary (F2) and no contest to reckless homicide (F3).

The burglary charge stems from an incident in August of 2017 in which Blair entered the Rickard residence and stole prescription medication.

Blair was given the maximum sentence for the reckless homicide charge – 36 months. For the burglary charge, he was given seven years of incarceration. The sentences will run consecutively for a total of 10 years in prison.

The reckless homicide charge is from the death of his infant son, Zyathen, just two months after the burglary in October of 2017.

A trial was held for a murder charge last month and Blair ended up pleading no contest to the lesser charge of reckless homicide.

Before sentencing, the prosecution asked for a maximum penalty on both charges and that the sentences run consecutively.

A statement was read by Prosecutor Joseph Burkard from the mother of the infant, Destiny Brooks.

Her statement said Zyathen did not deserve what happened to him and talked about the special life occasions that he will miss out on. Spectators on both sides of the aisle wept about the tender life that ended so abruptly.

Also speaking was Mary Rickard, the homeowner from the burglary charge. She stated, “I don’t want to live in fear.”

Danny Hill, attorney for Blair, spoke next and asked for leniency for his client. Hill stated that Blair had a drug and alcohol problem during the time of the burglary and the time spent in jail has caused him to really rethink his priorities.

Judge Tiffany Beckman asked for a short recess to consider sentencing.

After the short wait, a sentence was handed down.

After announcing sentence, Judge Beckman expressed, “One word just kept coming to mind during all of this. Sad. Infants require a high degree of care and it’s sad that he didn’t receive that amount of care from you.”