Man Convicted Of Child Neglect In Interstate Death

A Charleston man could be sentenced to seven to 31 years behind bars next month  for an incident that ended with the death of an eleven year old boy in Kanawha County earlier this year.

It took a Kanawha County jury less than two hours Tuesday to convict Ethan Chic-Colbert, 25, on charges of child neglect causing death and battery.  He will be sentenced on August 15th.

Earlier Tuesday, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom dismissed the more serious charges of kidnapping and felony murder Chic-Colbert had faced.  Judge Bloom said the prosecution had not met the burden of proof for those charges.

Prosecutors alleged Chic-Colbert was beating Lynitrah Woodson on the side of Interstate 77 in Charleston in March when her son got out of the car and tried to flag down help.  He was killed when a passing vehicle hit him.

On the stand Tuesday, Woodson testified that she and and her boyfriend, Chic-Colbert, were heading down I-77 about midnight with four children in the backseat including her son Jahlil, his two friends and the couple’s baby.

Woodson said that’s when Chic-Colbert began hitting her while she was driving, forcing her to pull off the interstate.  Once the car had stopped, half in the road and half on the berm, Woodson says things intensified. 

"[Chic-Colbert] dragged me out to the middle lane. He was over top of me hitting me, beating me. I was in a cradle position," she said.

Jahlil and his two friends jumped out of the car to try and wave down some help.  Tyrell Cochran, 11, who was there testified about what he saw.

"Then I got out [of the car] and I saw Ethan kick Lynitrah in the face and punch her."

He watched in horror as Jahlil, trying to wave down help, was hit by a passing car.  "I hollered at Jahlil to come back for his baby brother," said Cochran. "Then Jahlil got hit!"

The young boy began to cry as he recalled what happened in the moments afterward.

Woodson testified by the time Chic-Colbert stopped beating her and ran off, it was already too late to save her son.

"I heard [the boys yell] ‘Jahlil! Jahlil!’"  She testified that’s when she saw her son lying in the middle of the road. "I tried to walk to my baby but I couldn’t. I was limp. And then as I tried to walk to him, I look again and I see my car in the middle of the interstate with my infant in it. So I just dropped. What could I do? What could I do?"

Chic-Colbert took the stand in his own defense Tuesday afternoon saying the state’s witnesses are not telling the truth.

He says there was a fight between himself and Woodson but he was trying to get away from her when when tripped him and hit him.  Chic-Colbert says that’s when he slammed her head to the pavement.

He testified he did not see Clements get hit by the vehicle.

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