Preble County, Ohio Prosecutor's OfficeMartin P. Votel, Prosecuting Attorney

Holly Gray-Lapple Sentenced to Prison for Abuse of Four-Month-Old Daughter

Published on August 26th, 2019


Holly Gray-Lapple has been convicted by a Preble County jury of “Felonious Assault” and “Endangering Children”. On August 26, 2019, she was sentenced to eight (8) years in prison by the Preble County Court of Common Pleas.

On June 18, 2019, a Preble County jury convicted Holly Gray-Lapple, age 22, of “Felonious Assault” and “Endangering Children” for causing serious physical harm to her 4-month-old daughter, Ellie Alcorn. The State of Ohio was represented at trial by Prosecuting Attorney Martin P. Votel. The defendant was represented by attorney Kirsten Knight, with Judge Stephen R. Bruns presiding. Sentencing in the case was held on August 26, 2019.

On August 26, 2019, the defendant was sentenced to a term of eight (8) years in prison for “Felonious Assault”, a felony of the second degree (Count 1), and three (3) years in prison for “Endangering Children”, a felony of the third degree (Count 2). The Court found that under the laws of the State of Ohio, and the “double jeopardy” clauses of the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions, a separate charge of “Endangering Children” as alleged in Count 2 of the indictment “merged” with the “Felonious Assault” charge for sentencing purposes. Accordingly, no sentence was imposed upon Count 2.

On January 17, 2019, Holly Gray-Lapple brought her daughter Ellie to the Preble County Emergency Room reporting that Ellie had experienced a seizure. The defendant reported that the symptoms had occurred out-of-blue; she denied knowing what had caused bruises on the child’s forehead and eye-lids. The child was transferred to Dayton Children’s Hospital (DCH) where the mother repeated this history to DCH staff and to Det. Shane Hatfield of the Preble County Sheriff’s Office.

While at DCH, Ellie was diagnosed with a skull fracture, multiple bruises on her brain, multiple brain “bleeds”, a collapsed lung, and multiple unexplained bruises on her face and back. When confronted with these injuries, Ms. Gray-Lapple suddenly recalled an incident from that morning where she had “accidentally” hit the child’s head against the wall in the kitchen. When asked why she had not reported this alleged “accident” earlier, the mother reported that she had “forgot” to mention it.

At trial, the State of Ohio presented the testimony of Dr. Kelly Liker, the chief of the Child Advocacy Center at DCH. Dr. Liker testified that the multiple bruises and bleeds were consistent with multiple blunt force trauma and/or incidents of severe “shaking” of the child. Given this, and other factors relevant to her diagnosis, Dr. Liker opined that that the injuries were not the result of one minor accident, but rather, the product of a series of inflicted injuries.

The Defendant at all times maintained that a minor accident – an incidental bump of the head while walking from one room to another – was responsible for the bevy of serious trauma. The medical evidence in the case was absolutely inconsistent with such claims. Common Pleas Court Judge Stephen R. Bruns commented that the defendant’s failure to admit and accept responsibility for her actions despite overwhelming medical evidence was a key aggravating factor in sentencing.

    Prosecuting Attorney Martin P. Votel

: The State of Ohio is gratified by the sentence handed down by the Court of Common Pleas in this case. The 4-month-old child victim in this case, Ellie Alcorn, suffered terrible injuries at the hands of the defendant. She underwent multiple surgeries and suffered complications from those surgeries: the testimony at trial confirmed that she very well could have died from this abuse. We are lucky that Ellie is still with us, and equally as fortunate that the defendant received a sentence befitting her crimes against her daughter and this community.