Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dad pleads guilty to 3rd-degree murder of 2-month-old daughter during visitation, sentenced to prison (Greensburg, Pennsylvania)

Dad is identified as MATTHEW MILISITS.

This previous article clarifies that this was a custody/visitation situation involving a newborn.


Man sentenced to prison for death of 2-month-old daughter

GREENSBURG, Pa. —A Westmoreland County man will spend 20 to 40 years in prison for killing his 2-month-old daughter.

Matthew Milisits, 32, previously pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for the November 2012 shaking death of Sophia Ludwiczak.

On Monday, Judge Rita Hathaway sentenced Milisits to the maximum sentence allowed, and said she would have sentenced him to longer time in prison if the law had let her.

"That made me even happier because it showed me that she realizes what the truth really was in the situation," said Sophia's mother, Samantha Ludwiczak. "I'm very glad Sophia got the justice she deserves."

Milisits was watching the baby by himself at his Vandergrift home when he said he became upset she was crying. After a new diaper and a bottle didn't stop the crying, Milisits told the court he shook the girl. Doctors found Sophia suffered severe injuries including brain swelling, a detached retina and rib bruising. Sophia did five days later at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Ludwiczak discovered the injuries after Milisits drove the baby back to Ludwiczak. She called for help after realizing her daughter was seriously injured.

Five character witnesses testified on Milisits' behalf, including his father, his pastor and three neighbors -- one of whom is a retired state police commander. All five spoke of Milisits' compassionate, caring nature and his wonderful parenting skills to his son from a previous relationship, Ashton, now 8.

But Ludwiczak told the court of a different side of Milisits, including his initial text message to her upon learning she was pregnant where he said, "I have reached my one child limit. My son will never have a sibling."

Milisits said in court Monday he sent that text message because he was shocked to learn he would be a parent again. Defense attorney Phil DiLucente told the court Milisits has completed Bible study classes while incarcerated and spends a lot of time praying and asking God for forgiveness.

When Pittsburgh's Action News 4 Reporter Ashlie Hardway asked Milisits if he had anything he would like to say about his sentence, he replied, "Yeah, get that camera out of my face." When asked why, Milisits said, " Because I don't (expletive) like you guys."

Ludwiczak said she now has peace and can focus completely on raising her two other children. She said she would also like to start a charity walk to raise awareness for shaken baby syndrome.

DiLucente said he is unsure if he will file an appeal. Milisits will get credit for time served.

Milisits' family had no comment.