Man pleads guilty to murder in death of four-year-old boy

CHAMPAIGN CO., Ohio (WCMH)–Michael Stapleton, who is accused of killing a boy he took care of, pleaded guilty to a count of murder in Champaign County Court on Friday.

Stapleton was indicted in December 2015 on 9 counts including murder, felonious assault, and involuntary manslaughter.

The grand jury returned the indictment accusing Stapleton of beating the four-year-old boy he was caring for, using a belt, and causing his eventual death. The boy was pronounced dead at Nationwide Children’s Hospital on Nov. 29, 2015.

Stapleton also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of burglary (F3).

Stapleton faces a mandatory penalty of life imprisonment, with possibility for parole after 15 years, for the murder charge.

He faces a possible penalty of up to 36 months in prison in addition to the mandatory life sentence for the burglary charge.

The Prosecutor’s Office said Stapleton could also receive up to a $15,000 fine on the murder charge and up to a $10,000 fine on the burglary charge for total possible fine of up to $25,000.

Stapleton is scheduled to be sentenced on April 20 at 2 p.m.

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