RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A New York man has admitted he killed his former girlfriend and the woman’s 2-year-old son.
Jerry A. Lewis pleaded guilty in a Suffolk County courtroom on Tuesday to first- and second-degree murder.
Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock said Lewis admitted repeatedly stabbing 21-year-old Shakeela Planter in December 2011 in the woman’s North Bay Shore basement apartment.
Lewis also admitted beating to death Planter’s son Jaiden. The boy had wounds all over his body including a skull fracture and severe injuries to his heart, according to Kurtzrock.
The prosecutor said Lewis admitted that he left Planter’s body wrapped in plastic on her bed, and stashed the child’s remains in a freezer.
The bodies were found when Planter’s co-workers at Huntington Hospital became concerned about her absence from work and called police.
After the killings, Lewis fled to his mother’s home in Maryland, where she convinced him to surrender.
Lewis had no previous criminal history and there were no reports of domestic abuse between him and Planter. Lewis had been living with Palmer for four months at the time of the murders. He and Planter used to date but police said the relationship had fallen apart.
“According to his confession, she was seeing some other guy and he got jealous,” Kurtzrock said.
Suffolk County Court Judge Richard Ambro promised Lewis a prison sentence of 30 years to life when he is sentenced April 3. If Lewis had proceeded to trial and been convicted by a jury, he could have faced a term of life without parole.
Defense attorney Craig McElwee said his client opted to take the plea to prevent both his and the victims’ families from the ordeal of a trial. “He made a decision not to put them through that and decided to take responsibility,” the lawyer said.
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