(WASHINGTON) - Cory Mitchell Lyons, 22, of Washington, pleaded guilty to felony murder Monday in Daviess County Superior Court, and a sentencing hearing was set for 1 p.m. May 20.
Andrea McCann of the Washington Times-Herald reports that Lyons was charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a Class A felony, following the June 27, 2011, death of a 4-month-old infant at 1000 W. Main St. The murder charge was added following an autopsy and investigation. The neglect charge would be dismissed if Judge Dean Sobecki accepts the plea agreement.
At his plea hearing, through attorney Tonya Shaw, Lyons withdrew his initial not-guilty plea, and the judge explained his rights to him. Sobecki explained he can accept or deny the plea agreement and how he would determine sentencing. Sobecki could sentence Lyon up to 65 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
During the hearing Lyons admitted he was alone with the baby and he had banged the baby's head on the floor multiple times causing its death.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Lyons called 911 reporting the infant had fallen and bumped his head and was not breathing. The child was transported by ambulance to Daviess Community Hospital, where he later died.
According to Washington Police Chief Mike Healy, Lyons told various versions of his explanation of the incident.
Originally Lyons claimed the baby had fallen out of a "bouncy chair " and hit his head on a bed frame
Then Lyons told police, he dropped the baby, but didn't intend to do so.
At another interview, Lyons told police he dropped the baby on purpose, adding that he thought the infant would land on its butt or that he could catch it. He stated he thought it would scare the baby so it would quit crying.
The report from a June 28, 2011, autopsy performed by Dr. Roland Kohr, at Terre Haute Regional Hospital, ruled cause of death as "blunt force trauma" to the head and the manner of death "homicide." It listed multiple fractures, lacerations and hemorrhages.
On June 29, Healy once again interviewed Lyons and shared the results of the autopsy report
Lyons told Healy he'd taken the baby out of his chair and laid him on a blanket on the floor. He said he changed the infant's diaper, but he wouldn't quit crying.
"I asked him what he did, and he stated he went back into the room and got down on his knees and picked (the infant) up by his shoulders and slammed his head down on the floor," Healy wrote in the affidavit.
When asked how many times, Lyons said "at least three times."
The court will name a representative to speak for the deceased infant at Lyons sentencing.
Lyons was remanded back into the custody of the Daviess County Sheriff. He's being held at the Daviess County Security Center on $1 million bond, but eligible to be released for $100,000.
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