Recently, 23-year-old Karen Geletzke and 22-year-old Sandford McQueen were charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of a 1-year-old toddler who was left in their care.
According to news reports at Mlive.com, the toddler’s mother had left the boy in the care of a relative and a companion. The baby had been placed in a stroller and covered with a blanket, and was situated near a space heater according to a police statement. On Thursday January 23, police were called to a residence near 7 Mile Road on Keating Street. Upon arriving, officers found the toddler had burn marks and was unresponsive; he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at an area hospital.
Upon examination, the medical examiner determined that the toddler’s death was due to the burns he sustained; the death was declared a homicide. In addition to charges of second-degree murder, Geletzke and McQueen are also charged with second-degree child abuse and involuntary murder.
Both defendants are scheduled to be back in court on February 16, and are being held without bond.
This is certainly a tragic story. Second-degree murder while not as serious as first-degree murder may result in an individual who is convicted facing punishment as harsh as those convicted for first-degree murder, which is life in prison. Ultimately, it will be up to the jury to determine whether the defendants will face a few years behind bars, or the rest of their lives. It is also possible the defendants in this case may be offered a plea deal by prosecutors, which often results in less severe penalties if the defendant accepts the plea deal. Regardless, it is certainly sad for both the toddler’s family, and for two young people who likely made a horrible and innocent mistake that ended in tragedy.
If you or someone you know has been accused of a serious or violent crime, take action immediately. Consult with a trusted Michigan criminal defense attorney who will work vigorously to protect your legal rights and freedom.