FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The public may be spared the last moments of 9-year-old Elijah Ross, who, according to court documents, was beaten to death in December at the hands of his mother and her wife.
Alesha Miller, 30, also known as “Hood, will be sentenced May 24, after taking a plea deal. Miller’s 4-day trial in front of Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull was canceled Friday because of an “agreed resolution,” court documents said.
Miller, who is being held at the Allen County Jail, was charged four days after Christmas with aggravated battery where assault poses a substantial risk of death and neglect of a dependent resulting in death, both Felony 1 counts, the highest level felony in Indiana. She was also charged with two counts of Felony 6 neglect of a dependent.
The trial was to begin July 26.
Jenna Miller is still facing a trial in May over the beating death of her 9-year-old son, Elijah.
The beating of the slight, handsome boy shocked Fort Wayne and drew people to two vigils held in front of the home at 824 Putnam St. Months later, the vigil full of flowers and teddy bears and hearts still exists as the cases of Miller and her wife, Jenna Miller, 36, wind through court.
Jenna Miller faces a 4-day trial scheduled to begin May 17. Her charges include two counts Level 1 Felony neglect resulting in death and two Felony 6 counts of neglect.
As of Feb. 22, the Millers are getting a divorce, court documents indicate. Jenna Miller filed the petition.
“We were all surprised to see her take a plea deal before Jenna,” said Katelyn Gustin, CAPPA (Child Abuse Prevention, Protection and Advocacy), on Tuesday replacing Justice4Malakai, founded after November 2017 death of 2-year old Malakai Garrett. “Hearings are supposed to be public so we wanted to be present when she admitted guilt,” because the activists don’t know what charges are included in her plea.
The Allen County Prosecutor sent details of the plea deal Tuesday afternoon. Alesha Miller pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and the two lesser Felony charges. The Level 1 Felony neglect charge will be dismissed, according to the agreement. She is agreeing to a 30-year sentence for three of the charges, but she hasn’t been sentenced and a judge must accept the deal.
Other court documents include a letter Alesha Miller wrote to Magistrate John Bohdan and Gull on April 6 asking for a new public defender. Alesha said she believed he was putting his “personal feelings about this case in front of wanting to help with the case.” One of her complaints was that her public defender “wants me to rush and take my first plea, but I decided not to do that. But by April 22, an agreed resolution was made, court documents indicate.
Late on Dec. 17, the couple scrambled to put Elijah’s limp body in to their Jeep Cherokee after he became unresponsive. When Jenna Miller, the boy’s biological mother, arrived at the downtown Lutheran Hospital, Elijah was “cold and limp” according to a medical witness and he was pronounced dead just after 2 a.m.
Doctors found multiple bruises on his arms and face, major bruising to his lower back and buttocks, multiple bruises and swelling and abrasions on his shoulders and a laceration to his penis.
The women said they were at a Christmas party when one of Elijah’s two older brothers called to say the boys had been fighting around 9 p.m. Dec. 17. One of Elijah’s brothers said that Alesha Miller, the children called “Dad,” “went hard” on Elijah, slamming him to the ground and whooping him with a paddle, a paddle that was broken and ragged.
Court documents indicated Elijah tried to fight back and screamed “Please stop,” but eventually went limp as Alesha held him down with her legs and continued hitting him.
The Allen County Coroner ruled the death a homicide a few days after Elijah’s death.
The two attempted to revive him in the shower. He squeezed his mother’s arm and he said his last words, “Mommy,” court documents said.