Days before he was scheduled to stand trial, a Lawrence man entered a plea Thursday to killing his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter by shaking and beating her.
"(I) shook her," Jason W. Dillon said, when Judge Michael Malone asked to hear the factual basis for his plea.
Malone said he needed more details, and Dillon recited the language in the state's child-abuse law, saying he "cruelly beat and shook a child under the age of 18."
Dillon, 22, pleaded no contest to second-degree intentional murder and guilty to one count of child abuse for the June 2005 death of Sydni C. Perkins. He sobbed and held his head in his hands in court after entering the plea.
Under terms of the plea agreement, Dillon will be sentenced March 3 and faces roughly 16 years in prison: 165 months for murder, plus 34 months for child abuse.
Dist. Atty. Charles Branson said he was prepared to go to trial but reached the agreement at the request of victim Sydni Perkins' family members to spare them reliving the "horror" of the girl's death at trial and during a possible appeal.
"The state has had extensive conversations with the family of the victim," Branson told the judge. "It's the family's desire and wishes that this matter not proceed to trial."
Dillon, a former foster child and Lawrence High School track and field athlete, abused Sydni while baby-sitting her June 18 in the 1100 block of George Court.
Police testified Dillon admitted picking the girl up and shaking her at one point when she refused to help him pick up laundry, then striking her in the back of the head more than a dozen times after she told him she didn't want him to be her daddy anymore.
Dillon, who had been out all night drinking and using cocaine at a friend's birthday party in Kansas City, Kan., the night before, planned to use an intoxication defense at trial.
Sydni's mother, Rachel Perkins, attended the hearing but declined comment afterward. At a preliminary hearing, she testified that Sydni considered Dillon to be her dad.
Sydni C. Perkins
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