Father pleads guilty in death of son who was tied to tree
Posted June 15, 2009 10:36 a.m. EDT
Updated June 15, 2009 6:46 p.m. EDT
Tarboro, N.C. — The father of a 13-year-old boy who died after being tied to a tree pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder.
During a pre-trial hearing, Brice McMillan, 42, entered an Alford plea in exchange for testifying against his wife, Sandra McMillan, who is charged with murder and felony child abuse.
Both were arrested a year ago after their son, Tyler McMillan, died of dehydration and heat stroke.
Sandra McMillan, 37, the boy's stepmother, is out of jail on bond. Her trial is slated to begin July 6. Brice McMillan will be sentenced after her trial.
In an Alford plea, a defendant pleads guilty, while maintaining his or her innocence, and admits it is in his or her best interest to take the plea deal because prosecutors have sufficient evidence that could find him or her guilty.
Brice McMillan told authorities that he twice tied his son to a tree as punishment for disobedience and that the boy was left outside overnight on the second occasion, authorities said.
The state on Monday did not provide further details of the crime but told a judge that Brice McMillan talked to investigators the day his son was found and then again in December, when he provided investigators with additional details about the case.
According to an autopsy report, Tyler McMillan had a body temperature of 105.6 degrees Fahrenheit when he was taken to a hospital. Tests after his death also showed a pattern of dehydration, the report states.
The boy also had insect bites over his arms and legs and marks on his wrists and ankles that were consistent with plastic ties, according to the autopsy report.
He also had bruises on his buttocks and legs that appeared to have been caused by a rod-like instrument, the report states.