Travis Soto - Putnam Sentinel
Travis Soto

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s Supreme Court will hear an appeal of a decision made by the 3rd District Court of Appeals in the case of State of Ohio v. Travis Soto, according to Putnam County Prosecutor Gary Lammers.

In 2006, Soto pled guilty in a deal with the State that reduced an initial charge of involuntary manslaughter to child endangerment in the death of Soto’s two-year-old son Julio Soto-Baldazo. In July of 2016, five years after completing his five-year sentence on the charge, Soto then voluntarily entered the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and confessed to a more active role in the crime, allegedly asserting he had beaten the boy to death. A Putnam County grand jury subsequently charged Soto with aggravated murder, murder, kidnapping, felonious assault and tampering with evidence.

In 2016, Soto’s attorney, Joseph Benavidez, filed a motion to dismiss the aggravated murder and murder charges with Putnam County Common Pleas Court, citing double jeopardy issues. Judge Randall Basinger denied the motion on April 13, 2017, setting the stage for an appeal on the issue to justices with Ohio’s 3rd District Court of Appeals.

On February 5 of this year, Judge Stephen R. Shaw, writing for the majority of the appeals court, overturned Basinger’s ruling, upheld the appeal, and remanded the case back to the Putnam County court.

During a hearing on the matter before Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Schierloh, Lammers announced his intent to appeal the decision with Ohio’s Supreme Court.

Lammers commented he received notification of the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision to hear his appeal early last week and has 30 days to prepare his case, though a specific date for the hearing has yet to be determined.

Should Lammers’ appeal fail, Soto still faces felony charges of felonious assault, kidnapping and tampering with evidence.