The father of a baby boy who was found dead in a river in September has pleaded guilty in connection with his son??s death.
In Oneida County Court Wednesday morning, Jevon Wameling of Utica pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter for the disappearance and death of his nine-month-old son Levon. According to District Attorney Scott McNamara, Wameling entered the plea after ??extended discussions?? between his attorney, Rebecca Wittman, and prosecutors.
Wameling's case started on June 11, when he reported his son was missing through an attorney. He said at the time that his son has been taken from the porch of his Jay Street home two weeks prior, on May 29. After a nearly three month police search throughout Oneida County, Levon's body was found by dive teams inside a container in the Mohawk River on September 6. Police say the container was filled with rocks, and Levon had suffered a skull fracture.
When police announced they had recovered the body of infant Levon Wameling from the Mohawk River, many believed there had been a breakthrough in the case. There had been a development but it was more complicated than most people would ever realize. During a videotaped interrogation by police about an unrelated burglary charge, Jevon Wameling had admitted he had put his son's dead body into the river but earlier in the interview he had asked for a lawyer. Oneida County district attorney Scott McNamara knew the admission would never be allowed in court.
"We did a lot of research, about two weeks. We came to the conclusion there was no way in the world we could legally use that evidence," said McNamara. "When you were seeing us finding his body, we were saying - no what are we going to do."
The District Attorney's office and police had to completely rebuild the case against Jevon Wameling without using his videotaped admission or Levon's remains since police only learned of the Mohawk river location after Wameling asked for a lawyer. Everyone wanted answers but McNamara and police couldn't say anything that could jeopardize their new investigation
"I couldn't tell you, we've got a legal problem here we're trying to overcome," said McNamara
After three months of talks, the District Attorney's office and Wameling's attorney agreed on a manslaughter charge.
"As I sit her right now, we do not know how that baby got that head injury. A lot of people suspect, a lot of people guess but the reality is in the courtroom we need a witness, we need something," said McNamara.
at the end of the day - suspiciouns and allegations did not matter - it came down to what prosecutors could prove in court
"The cards weren't the ones as we wish they were dealt but we played the cards we had and did the best we could," said McNamara. "He (Wameling) knows better than anybody what that little baby went through. We don't."
About two weeks ago, Wameling wrote a letter to a Utica Observer-Dispatch reporter changing his story of what had happened to his son. He said he found baby Levon ??dead in his sleep?? on May 29, and it was because he was ??scared out of his mind?? that he lied about the boy??s status and whereabouts.