Starwalt, 34, admitted beating the child, Jeremiah Bradford, 4. Starwalt's plea agreement bound prosecutors to seek no more than 48 years in prison when he is sentenced later.
Officials said Jeremiah could have been saved but bled to death internally over about 15 hours without medical care.
MOTHER IS ALWAYS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF ALL ABUSERS AND KILLERS--WRONG!!! but here we go again.
Trial is pending for his mother, Patricia Cage, 35, also charged with first-degree murder on an allegation that she was accountable for Starwalt's conduct.
Officials said Jeremiah could have been saved but bled to death
internally over about 15 hours without medical care.
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Trial is pending for his mother, Patricia Cage, 35, also charged
with first-degree murder on an allegation that she was accountable
for Starwalt's conduct.
Assistant State's Attorney Chris Hoell said Starwalt and Cage
got together in the spring of 2010, after Gerald Bradford, her
husband and Jeremiah's father, died of H1N1 influenza the year
before. The couple lived in South Roxana.
Gerald Bradford's father, L.D. Bradford, 74, of Edwardsville,
said he had given Cage $20 so Jeremiah could play in a soccer
program on Sept. 25, 2010. That's the day the boy died.
Starwalt and Cage told authorities they were taking Jeremiah to
a hospital that morning when they pulled off the highway near
Illinois Routes 3 and 143 in Wood River and signaled to other
motorists for help.
Jeremiah was dead on arrival at Alton Memorial Hospital, but a
pathologist said he probably would have survived with quicker
Prosecutors said Starwalt told a cellmate in the Madison County
Jail that he was playing a video game and became angry when
Jeremiah kept getting in front of the TV.
Assistant State's Attorney Ali Summers said Starwalt was alone
with Jeremiah when the boy was beaten. She said Starwalt first told
police the boy was jumping on a couch when he fell and struck his
head, then fell and struck his abdomen.
Summers said Jeremiah had bruises on his head, face, chest and
abdomen. Dr. Raj Nanduri found Jeremiah had suffered brain injuries
that would not have been fatal but died of internal blood loss from
injuries that included some to his liver and spleen. The
pathologist said the injuries could have been caused by repeated
blows or one strong blow.
Summers said a neighbor told police she saw Jeremiah apparently
injured and in great pain about 9 p.m. on the night of Sept. 24 and
offered to drive him to a hospital. Instead, Starwalt said he would
do it. But when Starwalt and Cage left, they turned in another
direction. The prosecutor said that they went to a fast-food
restaurant and that Jeremiah vomited repeatedly through the
Hoell said that Starwalt was never before accused of a serious
crime and that there had been no police calls or other signals of
problems in the household.
Cage has a 16-year-old son, who did not live with her, and a
6-month-old daughter with Starwalt who was born after her arrest.
The baby is in the custody of the Illinois Department of Children
and Family Services.