Babysitter admits he killed crying infant with backhand to head

·2-min read

A babysitter in Indiana, USA, 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 December 20 that he hit Mercedes "a couple of times" on the evening of August 12 or in the early hours of 13th August.

A baby girl (Mercedes) smiling looking at camera with a bottle in her mouth.
11-month-old Mercedes Lain was murdered in August in the USA. Source: Newsflash/Australscope

Miller is said to have realised the baby was dead on the morning of August 14, 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 August 18.

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.

Mug shot of Justin Lee Miller who admitted he killed Mercedes wearing light green shirt and bald. Source: Newsflash/ Australscope
Justin Lee Miller admitted he killed Mercedes. Source: Newsflash/ Australscope

Miller's defence team negotiated a plea agreement with the Starke County Prosecutor's Office. He is 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.

Mug shots of the baby's parents (Tiffany Coburn, Kenneth Lain) who have been taken into custody. Source: Newsflash/ Australscope
The child's parents have been taken into custody. Source: Newsflash/ Australscope

Angela Owens, the young victim's grandmother, said 45 years would not be enough for the man who murdered Mercedes.

"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 said.

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 January 18.


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