KEY POINTS

  • A Peoria, Illinois father pleaded guilty to killing his 6-month-old daughter in 2019 
  • He entered a plea bargain with state prosecutors, avoiding a 100-year maximum prison sentence
  • Lesser charges of aggravated domestic battery and endangering the life and health of a child were dropped as part of the plea

A man from Peoria, Illinois, pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing his 6-month-old daughter moments before his trial was set to start.

In a plea bargain with Peoria County prosecutors, 21-year-old Kyler Purser pleaded guilty to first-degree murder just as his bench trial was about to begin, local newspaper Peoria Journal Star reported. Had he not entered the plea deal, Purser could have faced a maximum of 100 years in prison, if convicted, because of his daughter's age.

Purser was charged with murder on Sept. 8, 2019. Authorities claimed Purser held his 6-month-old child, Lisa Purser, against his chest for several minutes until she stopped breathing. She was rushed to the hospital when responders arrived but died shortly after, according to court records.

Authorities in 2019 said the official cause of death was swelling to the infant's brain as a result of a lack of oxygen.

A factual basis for the plea delivered by prosecutor Donna Cruz said Purser grew frustrated with his daughter and held her so tightly against his body that she could not breathe. 

Chandra Justice, Purser's lawyer, reportedly said after Cruz's statement that "whatever happened was not intentional and [Purser] did not mean to cause harm to his child."

Lesser charges of aggravated domestic battery and endangering the life and health of a child were dropped as part of the plea. Prior to the incident, Purser had no criminal history within the country.

A similar case occurred last month when a father from Ohio was indicted for the death of his 2-month-old daughter. 

Christopher Ledoux, 38, allegedly murdered his baby daughter, Christina Ledoux, in November 2020 after he stuck a baby wipe inside her mouth. An autopsy determined the child died after choking on a baby wipe, and her death was ruled a homicide.

Ledoux was indicted on March 22 on one count of reckless homicide in Fairfield County Common Please Court. He voluntarily surrendered himself to Columbus police and is being held in Fairfield county jail.

handcuff Representational image of a man in handcuffs. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images