(Reuters) - A Maryland man on Tuesday pleaded guilty to handcuffing his 9-year-old nephew before he was fatally beaten for eating birthday cake without permission, a court spokeswoman said.
Jacob Barajas, 25, of Hagerstown, entered the plea in Washington County Circuit Court for the death of Jack Garcia last year, the spokeswoman said. Barajas had been scheduled to go on trial on Tuesday.
He pleaded guilty to first-degree child abuse resulting in severe physical injury. Prosecutors dropped the other charges against him, including second-degree murder, she said.
In a statement of facts under the plea agreement, Barajas said he had handcuffed Jack, his sister Oriana Garcia’s son, to a chair before her boyfriend, Robert Wilson, beat him for eating birthday cake without permission. Barajas also watched part of the beating.
The boy died from head injuries in a Washington hospital on July 5, 2015. Wilson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison in March.
Garcia faces second-degree murder and other charges in the death of her son.
Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Cynthia Osterman