In October of 2012, Jeramy David Wagner allegedly punched his 3-month-old baby in the head; he was charged with felony murder, and first- and second-degree child abuse. On February 4 the 24-year-old father pleaded guilty, claiming that the baby would not stop crying. Wagner pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree child abuse.
Wagner was sentenced by Genesee Circuit Judge Richard Yuille on February 26 to life in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 15 years according to news reports at Mlive.com. The baby’s mother, Tiffany Leach, addressed the judge prior to his handing down Wagner’s sentence, saying that the baby’s death had been hard on her family, and that she had lost not only her child, but her job and home as well.
Prior to sentencing, Wagner apologized to both his own and Leach’s family, saying that the murder was the “single most deviant act I’ve ever committed.” Wagner reportedly punched the baby in the head when he would not stop crying. The defendant was caring for the baby while Leach was out; he snapped and struck the infant a single time with a closed fist. Leach attempted to administer CPR to the baby when she returned, but to no avail.
This is a tragic story, both because of the death of a child and the fact that a young man may now live out the rest of his life behind bars. It is likely that Wagner acted out of frustration or anger, not meaning to kill the baby. The price he will pay is astronomical considering his reputation, life, and career are ruined in addition to losing his freedom.
While the defendant pleaded guilty in this case, there are instances in which innocent people are charged with serious crimes, including murder. Prosecutors are vigorous in their efforts to secure a conviction, regardless of the facts of the case. Without a capable and aggressive Michigan criminal defense lawyer, the odds that the accused will serve jail/prison time and other serious penalties are great. If you have been arrested or are under investigation for home invasion, robbery, murder, carjacking, or any serious or violent crime, contact a dedicated defense attorney immediately.