FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A woman arrested in the beating death of her 9-year-old stepson in their Fort Wayne home a week before Christmas will have to wait a few months before she learns her fate.
A sentencing hearing for Alesha L. Miller, 30, was delayed Tuesday. She’ll now be sentenced Dec. 2.
Last month, Miller pleaded guilty to a Level 1 felony charge of Aggravated Battery and two Level 6 felony charges of Neglect of a Dependent related to the Dec. 18 death of young Elijah T. Ross in a home at 824 Putnam St. The guilty plea came through a plea agreement with Allen County prosecutors that dropped a Level 1 felony Neglect of a Dependent charge.
The deal calls for a 30-year sentence, but a judge must still accept the agreement at sentencing.
Miller’s sentencing will now come after her ex, Jenna Miller, stands trial for her role in the boy’s death.
Jenna Miller was set to stand trial this month but an Allen Superior Court judge granted a motion for continuance. The trial is now set for Nov. 29. She faces charges of neglect of a child resulting in death, and two counts of neglect of a dependent that endangers the child.
According to a probable cause affidavit released Wednesday, Jenna Miller brought Elijah to the hospital. He was “cold and limp” when they arrived, and was pronounced dead just after 2 a.m. Doctors found “multiple bruises” on the boy’s arms and face, “major” bruising to his lower back and buttocks, multiple bruises and swelling and abrasions on his shoulders, and a small cut on his penis.
In an interview with police, Alesha Miller said she and Jenna Miller were at a Christmas party when she took a call that said the brothers had been fighting and the victim was pushed into a bookcase around 9 p.m. Friday, the affidavit said. She said after the boy went upstairs, Jenna Miller – her wife – yelled that the boy stopped breathing and vomited, the affidavit said.
At that point, the couple put the boy in the car and went to the hospital, while performing CPR, Alesha Miller told police.
Jenna Miller gave the same story to police, according to the affidavit.
Later, police interviewed two other children. One said that Alesha Miller, who the children called “dad,” “went hard” on Elijah, and would “slam him to the ground” and “whoop him with the paddle” multiple times, the affidavit said. After the abuse, Elijah would “ball up,” the brother said.
The night of the incident, one boy said he and Elijah were fighting and he texted his parents because he was “fake-vomiting,” and Alesha Miller told him to “beat him up” and make him sit in the corner, the affidavit said. When the couple arrived back home from the Christmas party, “dad” began yelling at the victim.
A brother said Alesha Miller called him downstairs to hold Elijah’s feet because she needed to “whoop him” and he was “squirming everywhere” and “trying to fight back,” the affidavit said. She hit him with a wooden paddle on his buttocks, the child said.
Elijah eventually got “knocked out,” the child told investigators. Alesha Miller splashed water on him and shook him trying to get him to wake up, the child said.
He said Jenna Miller was going to call police but Alesha Miller said the police would arrest them both and they didn’t want to go to jail, the affidavit said.
In another interview with police on Tuesday, Alesha Miller told police she whooped Elijah with a belt on his buttocks three times three different times. She said the night of the incident, the brother was the one who whooped Elijah with a paddle, the affidavit said.
Jenna Miller told police that Alesha Miller “continuously kept whooping the victim,” the affidavit said. She said Alesha Miller held Elijah down with her legs and hit him multiple times as he screamed “please stop,” and he eventually went limp, the affidavit said.
The couple then put the boy in the shower. In the shower, Jenna Miller said young Elijah squeezed her arm and said, “Mommy.”
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