According to the court documents, the 37-year-old defendant reportedly admitted to killing the baby girl he was babysitting. He then disposed of her remains in a shallow grave in the woods, prosecutors said. The 37-year-old man pleaded guilty on Monday. The child’s parents left their daughter with the defendant, whom they referred to as a family relative because the couple was having a hard time and needed a break from parenting.
The 37-year-old man from Indiana, Justin Miller, pleaded guilty to the murder of 11-month-old Mercedes Lain. The defendant reportedly admitted that he struck the baby multiple times because she would not stop crying, according to reports.
According to reports, the 37-year-old defendant told prosecutors that he was at his girlfriend’s apartment watching the baby when he grew frustrated that the baby would not stop crying. The man reportedly admitted that he was high on synthetic marijuana at the time of the assault. He told prosecutors that he struck Mercedes a couple of times to get her to stop crying late on the evening of Aug. 12.
Prosecutors said the 37-year-old defendant reportedly hit the baby in the head causing her to hit the wall. The 37-year-old man also told prosecutors that he realized the infant was dead on the morning of Aug. 14.
He reportedly got out of bed and rolled a joint of synthetic before seeing the infant’s lifeless body. He then grabbed the baby’ body and buried her in a remote wooded area, according to reports.
According to the court documents, if the judge accepts the terms of the deal, the defendant will face a minimum of 45 years in prison and a maximum of 65 years in prison.
The victim’s grandmother, Angela Owens, said that a possible sentence of 45 years is not 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. 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?” she reportedly said.
According to reports, Mercedes’ parents, Kenneth Lain and Tiffany Coburn, left their daughter with Miller, whom they referred to as a family relative, on Friday, Aug. 13 because the couple was having a hard time and needed a break from parenting.
During an interview with investigators, the defendant reportedly said Lain had contacted him on Aug. 12 about purchasing synthetic marijuana. He also told investigators that their conversation then turned into the rough time they were having with the baby and Miller said he eventually told Lain that he would babysit Mercedes for a few days so he and Coburn could have a break.