Friday, November 29, 2013

Dad with "temporary custody" pleads guilty to manslaughter in death of 9-month-old son (Utica, New York)

I'm sorry, but dad JEVON WAMELING has been totally full of crap from the beginning. I have zero sympathy for this @$$hole.

Father admits not getting medical help for injured baby Levon Faces 7 1/2 to 15 years in prison after manslaughter plea.

Posted Nov 27, 2013 @ 10:24 AM Last update Nov 28, 2013 @ 01:49 AM

UTICA — If only Jevon Wameling had sought medical attention for his baby son’s head injury.

Maybe 9-month-old Levon would still have been alive to turn 1 year old.

Maybe teddy bears would not now be lining the bridge over the Mohawk River, where Levon’s body had been tossed to its watery grave.

Maybe he wouldn’t be heading to prison soon for allowing his son to die.

But after failing to do what prosecutors say any reasonable parent would have done, knowing that their child was in pain, 27-year-old Wameling found himself ultimately accepting blame for a series of deadly mistakes that never should have happened.

In Oneida County Court, Wameling pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to second-degree manslaughter and will face the maximum 7 ½ to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced Thursday, Jan. 30.

No matter what the public might speculate about how Levon’s head injury was caused, prosecutors firmly point out that nothing suggests Wameling meant to harm his son.

“We have absolutely no proof that this was an intentional homicide,” Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara said. “Based on the totality of the facts that we knew and the facts we could prove in court, I can only hope that we have given justice to baby Levon and to baby Levon’s mother, Amy Warney.”

What prosecutors did have were two contradictory stories: On June 11, Wameling first said Levon disappeared from the front porch of his East Utica home. But then in a jailhouse letter to the Observer-Dispatch two weeks ago, Wameling said Levon died in his sleep.

Wameling insists Levon hurt himself after falling off a sofa, McNamara said. And during a visit while Levon’s mother was in jail on May 18 – about 10 days before Levon’s death – Warney claims she told Wameling to take the boy to the hospital after she noticed an injury behind Levon’s left ear.

But Wameling never did, and an autopsy found a crack on the same part of Levon’s skull where Warney says the injury had been, McNamara said.

During Wameling’s surprise plea Wednesday, Wameling simply responded to a series of questions asked by Judge Barry M. Donalty, while Warney sat nearby in the courtroom.

“You knew this child had a medical condition, is that correct? A head injury?” Donalty asked, according to court transcripts.

“Yes,” Wameling replied, acknowledging that he had responsibility for Levon’s welfare as his sole caretaker at that time, starting May 13.

“On May 29 of this year, the child died, is that correct?” Donalty continued. “And rather than call 911, rather than call anybody, you in fact took it upon yourself to put the child in a bag and then the child was placed in the water at the (Mohawk River), is that correct?”

“Yes,” Wameling replied, without elaborating on what prompted him to dispose of Levon in a backpack full of rocks.

Around 2 a.m. that May 29 morning, however, Wameling did leave a frantic voicemail on the phone of Wameling’s mother, McNamara said. When his mother called the next day, Wameling told her he had already taken care of whatever the problem was.

On Wednesday, Wameling also pleaded guilty to two unrelated charges: second-degree burglary for stealing money from his uncle’s home and fourth-degree conspiracy to sell drugs. Wameling will receive five years in prison for the burglary, and two to four years for the drug conspiracy, which will run at the same time as the more serious manslaughter sentence.

Although Wameling had told state police in September where he dumped Levon’s body, investigators continued to interrogate him after he had already asked for an attorney – a legal snafu that prevented prosecutors from being able to use Wameling’s long-awaited answers against him, McNamara said.

Yet, Wameling’s defense attorney, Rebecca Wittman, realized it was best to resolve these matters all at once.

“Because of Jevon Wameling’s actions in disposing of the baby’s body, the District Attorney faced some challenges in establishing the cause and manner of Levon Wameling’s death,” Wittman wrote in a statement. “Conversely, those same actions presented challenges in defending against any charges related to the death of Levon.”

Wittman finished, “We feel we have reached a fair resolution of all matters related to Mr. Wameling.”

Here's a timeline of the series of events from Levon's death to father's guilty plea:

May 18: While in jail, Levon’s mother notices injury behind boy’s left ear and claims she told father Jevon Wameling to take him to the hospital.

May 29: Wameling finds Levon dead in his sleep and leaves a frantic but unrevealing late-night voicemail to Wameling’s mother, then sometime later disposes of baby’s body in Mohawk River.

June 11: About two weeks after Levon died, Wameling tells Utica police that boy disappeared after he was left briefly unattended on the front porch.

Sept. 5: After being charged with burglarizing uncle’s home, Wameling finally tells police where to find Levon in North Utica waterway; a legal mistake, however, prevents prosecutors from being able to use that confession against Wameling.

Sept. 6: Levon’s remains recovered from Mohawk River in backpack full of rocks; autopsy later finds skull fracture, but cause of death is never determined.

Nov. 14: O-D publishes jailhouse letter from Wameling admitting that he was “scared out of my mind” after finding Levon dead in his sleep. Wednesday: Wameling unexpectedly pleads guilty to second-degree manslaughter, admitting that Levon died after failing to seek medical help for boy’s head injury; faces 7 ½ to 15 years in prison when sentenced Jan. 30.