A man charged with the death of a 4-year-old child will be sentenced to prison next month after he pleaded guilty to murder during a status conference on Friday.
As part of a plea resolution, Michael C.R. Stapleton pleaded guilty to one count each of murder and burglary. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 20.
Stapleton, 26, of North Lewisburg, was indicted in December on three counts of murder and other felony charges in connection with the Nov. 29, 2015, death of Brett Jaynes II.
On the date of Jaynes’ death, the Champaign County Dispatch Center received a 911 call from Stapleton at 254 Gunn St., North Lewisburg, stating the child was non-responsive and experiencing labored breathing. The circumstances of Jaynes’ death were investigated by the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, investigators from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and caseworkers from the Champaign County Department of Job and Family Services.
Following Jaynes’ death, bruises were observed on the head, face, abdomen, buttocks and legs of the child. A medical examiner made the preliminary conclusion that the cause of death was homicide as a result of a hemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to the abdomen and the head, causing internal bleeding.
As part of the plea resolution eight charges including charges of murder, felonious assault, endangering children, involuntary manslaughter and possessing criminal tools were dismissed.
The burglary charge was filed by Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi Tuesday through a bill of information. The bill states that on or about Nov. 1 to Nov. 4, 2015, Stapleton trespassed into a Cable residence where he reportedly stole a Hi-Point .380 caliber handgun along with ammunition and money.
Talebi said during Friday’s hearing the separate criminal conduct that led to the burglary charge was discovered by law enforcement during the investigation into the murder case.
A press release from the prosecutor’s office states Stapleton faces a mandatory penalty of life imprisonment with the possibility for parole after 15 years on the murder charge, which is an unclassified felony.
He also faces a total possible fine of up to $25,000 between the two charges.