published Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Dad who overdosed at McDonald's convicted in Ohio

CINCINNATI — Less than two weeks after police say he and his girlfriend overdosed on heroin in a McDonald's play area near Cincinnati, a father was convicted Thursday of child endangering.

Robert Palmer, 37, was convicted on two misdemeanor charges by Hamilton County Municipal Judge Cheryl Grant after a nonjury trial.

Emergency officials responded to a call March 9 about two unresponsive adults in the Green Township 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 was not immediately clear.

"My client is genuinely remorseful," said Michael J. Trapp. "He had no intention to hurt any children."

Palmer remained jailed under $10,000 bond. Grant ordered a presentencing investigation, including seeking information from Dearborn County, Ind., about the children. She also asked for information on availability of treatment for Palmer.

The charges each potentially carry sentences of six months in jail. Sentencing is scheduled for April 14.

A trial for 33-year-old Tamica Jeffers is still pending. A message was left Thursday for her attorney.

After the incident, the McDonald's franchise owner and operator said in a statement that he was proud that both 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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