A man charged with the murder of a three-year-old boy in Montville NJ has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to Morris County prosecutors, the 29-year-old suspect used a belt to beat the child to death in a domestic violence incident at a Montville NJ motel. Authorities said that the suspect had moved from Altoona, Pennsylvania to the Pine Brook section of Montville NJ so that he could live near his girlfriend, who was the child’s mother.
The suspect allegedly inflicted the severe beatings on the child in April 2015. On April 10, the suspect dialed 911 and said that the young boy was choking and needed emergency medical assistance. When Montville NJ police officers arrived at the motel, they found the child suffering from serious injuries. Additionally, police reportedly noticed that the victim’s mother had noticeable bruises on her face and her body.
Investigators spoke with the woman, who said that the suspect beat her and the child.
Meanwhile, the victim was rushed to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, NJ, where doctors tried to save his life. Tragically, three days after arriving at the hospital, the child was taken off life support and died.
The Morris County medical examiner and a forensic neuropathologist later performed an autopsy and determined that the victim died as a result of blunt force trauma.
After the victim died, the suspect was charged with murder. He already faced criminal charges for aggravated assault (on both the mother and her child), child endangerment, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, and hindering apprehension. The charges for hindering apprehension stemmed from allegations that the suspect initially provided Montville police investigators with a false name.
Now the suspect is set to stand trial after a Morris County grand jury indicted him on the criminal homicide charges.
Additionally, the grand jury voted in favor of a couple of aggravating factors in the murder case, meaning that the suspect could potentially be sentenced to life imprisonment, without any chance of parole, if he is convicted. The aggravating factors include the allegation that the suspect killed a child who was under the age of 14 and the allegation that he committed a murder that was “outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman.”
It is expected that Morris County prosecutors will offer the suspect a plea deal that calls for him to serve 30 years in New Jersey State Prison.
The suspect is currently being held at the Morris County Correctional Facility in Morristown NJ on a $1 million bail amount.
For further information about this case, see the DailyRecord.com article, “Montville Motel Tenant Arraigned on Toddler’s Murder.”