published Monday, April 14th, 2014

Jail for dad who overdosed at McDonald's play area near Cincinnati

CINCINNATI — A man who overdosed on heroin with his girlfriend at a McDonald's play area near Cincinnati was sentenced Monday to six months in jail for child endangering.

Robert Palmer, 37, was sentenced by Hamilton County Municipal Judge Cheryl D. Grant, who last month convicted him on two misdemeanor counts after a nonjury trial.

Emergency crews responded to a March 9 call about two unresponsive adults in the fast-food restaurant's indoor play area. They needed emergency treatment to recover from what police called "life-threatening overdoses."

Authorities said the couple from Dillsboro, Ind., acknowledged using heroin while with two children, a 5-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy. Palmer is the girl's father; the boy's relationship with the couple wasn't made clear.

Attorney Michael J. Trapp said Palmer hopes to serve his time and then begin picking up the pieces of his life.

"My client is very sorry that this happened," Trapp said after the sentencing.

However, prosecutors said he showed little appreciation for the seriousness of his actions. Palmer will get credit for time served since his arrest, meaning he has a little less than five months left in jail.

His girlfriend, Tamica Jeffers, 33, is scheduled for a nonjury trial April 21 before a different judge.

After the overdoses, the McDonald's franchise owner and operator in suburban Green Township said he was proud that the restaurant crew and its customers took quick action to respond to the emergency and call 911 for medical help for the couple.

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