Schenectady County

Judge rejects plea deal for man accused of killing 20-month-old Schenectady toddler

John J. Batease appeared ready to take the offer but the judge said he would not consider it.

A judge today rejected the latest offer of a plea deal for the man accused of killing 20-month-old Asiah Maxam of Schenectady last June.

John J. Batease, 33, now faces trial in Schenectady County Court.

Batease appeared before Acting County Judge Michael Coccoma to formally say yes or no to an offer of 20 years in state prison in exchange for a guilty plea to first-degree manslaughter.

Batease appeared to be leaning toward taking the plea offer, but then expressed some misgivings. After a break, Batease appeared to want to go ahead with the plea, but Coccoma refused to consider it, saying a judge must be satisfied that a plea is truthful, knowing and voluntary.

Family members of the victim and family friends filled the small courtroom in anticipation of the possible guilty plea.

When it became apparent that the plea would not happen, Asiah’s mother Jamie Darrel appeared incredulous.

Batease was indicted in Asiah’s killing in September. He had long been the focus of the investigation into the June 19, 2011, death of the little boy.

Batease was the boyfriend of Asiah’s mother and was watching the child and several of Asiah’s siblings that evening.

At some point, Batease carried Asiah out of 611 Hattie St. and asked neighbors to summon paramedics. The neighbors said then that he told them Asiah had fallen out of a crib.

Batease repeated that account as rescuers tried to revive the boy, according to earlier testimony. But when the child arrived at Ellis Hospital, it was apparent to medical personnel that Asiah’s injuries indicated something more than a fall. He had severe head trauma and an airway clogged with blood.

This morning’s plea rejection came after Batease had said no to an earlier plea offer that would have sent him to prison for 22 years in exchange of his plea to first-degree manslaughter.

Batease’s attorney Kent Gebert said today that Batease maintains his innocence.

Categories: Schenectady County

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