A babysitter in Indiana has admitted that he killed a crying infant with a backhand to the head while high on synthetic cannabis before burying the baby’s body in a shallow grave.
The defendant Justin Miller, 37, has formally pleaded guilty to the murder of Mercedes Lain, a newborn baby he allegedly hit because she would not stop crying, according to local media.
Miller told the court at the Starke County Circuit Courthouse on Monday 20th December that he hit Mercedes “a couple of times” on the evening of 12th August or in the early hours of 13th August.
Miller is said to have realised that the baby was dead on the morning of 14th August, when he got up and “rolled a joint of synthetic” before spotting her lifeless corpse. Her body was discovered by investigators in a wooded area in northern Indiana on 18th August.
The defendant is said to have borrowed some money from a neighbour for petrol before taking the baby’s corpse to a remote, wooded area in Starke County, and burying her.
Miller’s defence team has negotiated a plea agreement with the Starke County Prosecutor’s Office, which says that sentencing the defendant is at the discretion of the court, with Miller facing a minimum of 45 years and a maximum of 65 years in prison.
The child’s parents, who have been named as Kenneth Lain, 41, and Tiffany Coburn, 32, were also arrested and charged with felony neglect.
Angela Owens, whose age was not reported, the young victim’s grandmother, said that 45 years would not be enough for the man who murdered Mercedes.
She said: “It’s just not good enough to plea out like that. I just can’t see how the court’s going to accept a plea from him.”
She added: “I feel that he needs longer. I mean, an innocent child. My innocent grandchild. How could you just do that and expect, okay, you do forty-five years and get out and you’re fine? Where’s my baby at? Where’s her time? Where’s her life?”
Miller will be sentenced on 18th January.