Prosecutor: Child killer likely to die in prison
The Albion man who admitted killing a 21/2-year-old girl he was baby-sitting has health problems and likely will die behind bars, Noble County Prosecutor Eric Blackman said.
Trevor L. Wert pleaded guilty to murder Wednesday, a little more than a month after he was charged with killing Railee Ewing on Nov. 1. The 42-year-old is on dialysis and indicated last week he was willing to plead guilty to the murder charge if a child molesting charge was dropped, the prosecutor said.
The decision to accept the plea was an easy one, Blackman said in an email Friday.
“Even a minimum sentence is likely going to mean that Mr. Wert is probably going to die in prison,” he said. “By pleading guilty, we will all be saved the time, expense, stress and uncertainty of a trial. And, by pleading guilty, Mr. Wert waives his right to appeal his conviction, giving us a much more certain outcome.”
Wert faces up to 65 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 31 in Noble Superior Court.
He beat Railee to death after the girl woke him up by turning on a bathtub faucet, according to court documents. Investigators said he struck her several times and kicked her, causing the toddler to slam into a door frame.
Railee had injuries consistent with physical and sexual abuse, a probable cause affidavit alleged, and Blackman said at the time it was one of the most brutal cases investigators they had ever seen.
“I know some in law enforcement wanted to pursue the child molest charge, but all that would have done would guarantee that the case would go to trial and possibly set up a situation where a judge or jury may only find him guilty of manslaughter instead of murder,” Blackman said. “And even if we got convictions on both murder and child molest, he would not necessarily get any longer sentence.”
Murder carries a penalty of up to 65 years in prison, and child molesting carries a maximum sentence of 50 years, Blackman said in November. If convicted of both, a judge could have ordered the sentences to be served together or back to back.
Blackman said the girl’s mother “was in complete agreement with this resolution.”
Railee and other children had gone trick-or-treating with Wert on Oct. 31, and she returned home with him that night. She was pronounced dead at a hospital the next morning.