BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A man accused of murdering his girlfriend's three-year-old son will face an Erie County judge Monday morning. Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard said the incident is very criminal and can't be minimized.
Thirty-year-old Justin Crouse is facing second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter charges. An Erie County Grand Jury indicted the Salamanca man on Friday. He is accused of beating his girlfriend's three-year-old son Gage Seneca to death, back in March.
Sheriff Howard said, "We're very certain that he is the individual responsible for striking the child that ultimately caused his death."
Prosecutors say Crouse hit Seneca in the head after finding him out of bed. He then put the toddler back to bed, and went to sleep.
Howard said, "Not make further inquiries as to his condition or to seek treatment that would simply lay him down and return to bed, is definitely is something very criminal here that can't be forgiven, can't be minimized."
The family was asleep when it all happened. They found Gage unresponsive in the morning, and immediately notified authorities and attempted to administer first aid.
The sheriff says Crouse has been arrested nine other times on minor charges. If he is convicted on these murder charges, he faces up to 25 years behind bars.
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