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Batease rejects plea deal in child's death

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Albany/HV: Batease rejects plea deal in child's death
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A man accused in the death of a young child changes his mind about accepting a plea deal. John Batease was in court Thursday morning in Schenectady. He was expected to take a guilty plea for the death of his girlfriend's 20-month-old son. Lori Chung has more.

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- The man accused in the death of a child has rejected a plea deal in Schenectady County Court.

John Batease has been accused of causing the death of his girlfriend's son. Police say he was home alone with 20-month-old Asiah Maxam last year and rushed to the neighbor's, saying the child had fallen and wasn't breathing. An autopsy concluded the cause of death was blunt force trauma and ruled the death a homicide.

Batease was expected to plead guilty to first degree manslaughter, but then rejected the deal.

"No longer willing to take the plea based on the conditions laid out by the court. My information is that he continues to maintain his innocence," said defense attorney Ken Gebert.

"Nobody can be forced to enter a plea of guilty and we'll go forward and give Mr. Batease the trial he desires and is entitled to," said Tracey Brunecz, Special Victims Unit Bureau Chief of the DA’s Office.

His trial is now scheduled to begin next month.

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