Grandmother defends father convicted of daughter's reckless homicide
PRINCETON, Ky. — We heard from one grieving grandfather Wednesday night who says Jesse Allison intentionally killed his granddaughter.
But a little more than a year before that incident, another one of Allison's babies died under his care.
The difference is that child's family had only good things to say about a man that a jury convicted of reckless homicide.
The grandmother said Jesse Allison was a loving father who stepped up to the plate to raise the baby girl after her mother, Joni, died during childbirth.
Jana Richardson has been rocked by grief. She lost her daughter and two years later, lost her granddaughter. But she said even with the bad rap Allison now has, her feelings toward him haven't changed.
Richardson will never forget the day her daughter Joni gave birth to Erin.
"It was a happy day, I mean she was happy and she was laughing," Richardson said.
But the laughter stopped when Joni suddenly died just before Erin was born.
Baby Erin never met her mother but Richardson said she had a good life and was raised primarily by her dad Jesse Allison.
"He took wonderful care of her," Richardson said.
But baby Erin's life didn't last long. She died at 22 months while Allison was taking care of her.
He said she was sleeping at the time. An autopsy was inconclusive and no charges were ever filed.
A year and a half later, Jesse Allison's 7-month-old daughter Ariel Allison died in her sleep. But this time, a jury convicted him of reckless homicide.
Ariel's grandfather thinks Allison killed both babies but Erin's grandmother couldn't disagree more.
"I know how he was to Joni, and I know how he was to Erin," Richardson said. "I do not believe it."
State records show Allison had a violent past, punching another baby in Virginia in 2000 and a girlfriend in Kentucky. Richardson still defends him.
"I don't believe he hurt her because he was good to her," she said. "He loved her. She loved him."
Richardson said when Allison gets out of jail, she'll even welcome him back to the family.
"He's always going to be a part of the family," she said.
It could be a long wait. Allison was convicted of reckless homicide in the death of baby Ariel, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.
Richardson said Allison told them he had gotten into some trouble in Virginia for child neglect but they never felt like he posed a threat to anyone, especially not his daughter.
They believe baby Erin probably had a seizure while she was sleeping and said she had seizures before. They said they don't suspect Allison did anything to her.
The Caldwell County coroner told us he hasn't considered revisiting Erin Allison's case. He would to be asked to do so by the Princeton Police Department and the commonwealth's attorney.
We reached out to Princeton Police to see if they would consider re-visiting this case. The chief didn't return our call.