Alexander Stolte, 21, walked into an Orange County Courtroom to admit he killed 1-year-old Kyleigh McDaniel. Originally charged with second-degree murder, Stolte agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter.
Stolte was baby-sitting his girlfriend's daughter alone at his home in Chelsea back in March 2010. Since then, he'd denied knowing what happened to the infant as she slept in the basement. But in recorded phone conversations with his mother from prison, he told her a much different story.
"The defendant did begin to admit he caused the injuries to Kyleigh," Orange County Prosecutor William Porter said.
During the change of plea hearing, the prosecutor revealed admissions Stolte made on the telephone. The night Kyleigh died Stolte said he was impaired and was tossing Kyleigh in the air playing with her. At one point he claimed he dropped her and she began to cry.
"As the crying became worse, the defendant was unable to quiet her and became more and more frustrated. The defendant grabbed Kyleigh and slammed her down several times to stop her from crying," Porter said.
The medical examiner ruled the baby died from blunt force trauma to the head. It's likely death came quickly, right after the beating.
Stolte also pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for breaking several of Kyleigh's bones a month prior to her death.
"The defendant previously swung Kyleigh around by her arms and legs; rough play inappropriate for a child less than 1 year old," Porter said.
Judge Harold Eaton: Mr. Stolte, are the facts outline by the state correct?
Alexander Stolte: Yes, your honor.
Stolte's lawyers had little to say as they left the courthouse.
A sentencing date has not been set, but the plea deal calls for Stolte to serve 15-30 years in prison.
Now the defense claims there is evidence that indicates the baby was sexually assaulted. But neither prosecutors nor the defense discussed that aspect of the case Thursday.
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