A Whitesburg teenager pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon in a Pike Circuit courtroom to an amended charge of second-degree manslaughter in connection with the 2014 death of a four-month-old baby.
Pike Circuit Judge Eddy Coleman, who was acting as special Letcher Circuit Judge, remanded Keaston Allen Taylor, 17, of 34 Turner Drive, to the custody of the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice.
A court-appointed psychologist testified during a competency hearing on January 5 that Taylor might not be competent to stand trial, but is competent to accept a plea deal.
Coleman found Taylor, who will turn 18 on January 15, competent to accept a guilty plea.
Pike County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Bartley, Letcher Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Tyler Ward and Taylor’s defense attorneys, William Lewis Collins and Bill Melton, agreed to a plea deal, which requires Taylor to remain in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice as late as his 21st birthday. Taylor is to undergo a psychiatric treatment and evaluation and must appear in court prior to any release. Taylor will then be on supervised probation for a period of five years. If Taylor violates probation, he could serve seven years in prison.
Conditions of the probation include seeing mental health professionals and taking medication as prescribed by a health care provider. Taylor isn’t allowed to live with chil- dren under the age of 12.
“I think everyone involved in this matter think a pretty fair deal was reached,” said Collins.
All parties involved agreed that Taylor is intellectually disabled and the only debate is whether he is competent to stand trial, said Collins.
“If he isn’t competent to stand trial, he goes to a mental hospital and almost certainly goes free,” said Collins.
Taylor threw Blayze Alexander
Smith off of an embankment. The baby suffered blunt force trauma.
A Kentucky State Police trooper was dispatched to a home on Turner Drive, located between Seco and Kona, at 5:16 a.m. on June 6, 2014 after a caller said an infant was missing. The baby was found at 6:40 a.m. over an embankment located behind the home.
A juvenile charged with murder faces a maximum of life without parole for 25 years.