Blairsville man takes plea deal in death of his stepson

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A Blairsville man accused of abusing his young stepson last year and causing his death pleaded guilty to third-degree murder today.

Juan Campbell, 28, was scheduled for trial next month in the death of Malachi Patterson, 22 months, who police said Campbell smothered while trying to stop his crying on May 17.

The toddler, who also had bruises on his face, died two days later at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC of injuries suffered in the suspected abuse.

Authorities believe the boy rolled off the bed onto the floor and was crying and whimpering, and Campbell held his hand over the boy's mouth and nose to quiet him, Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said at the time.

Campbell is scheduled for sentencing April 11 and faces up to 40 years in prison.


Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944.

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