The uncle of a 9-year-old boy beaten to death over a missing piece of birthday cake has pleaded guilty to first-degree child abuse.
Jacob Barajas, 24, acknowledged Tuesday that he handcuffed the child to a chair, where he was repeatedly battered by his mother’s boyfriend.
He faces up to 15 years in prison. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped six other charges against Barajas, including second-degree murder. His sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Barajas lived with his sister, Oriana Garcia, her boyfriend, Robert Wilson, and the boy, Jack Barajas, in Hagerstown, Maryland, police said.
Prosecutors described months of abuse Jack endured after his mother moved them to Maryland, where they lived with Wilson, a man she met online.
Wilson repeatedly beat Jack, authorities said, and ruled the home with an iron hand. Food was withheld as punishment, prosecutors said, and Jack took to hiding food because he was hungry.
Wilson, 31, pleaded guilty in March to second-degree murder in Jack’s July 2015 death. He is serving a 30-year sentence.
Prosecutors said Wilson regularly beat the child and left him handcuffed for hours.
Jack’s last beating was over a missing piece of birthday cake at a party for Wilson’s visiting 2-year-old daughter, police said. A child told investigators she heard Wilson shouting “Cough up the cake,” and the boy screamed, “No! Stop!” WBAL-TV reported.
His mother is scheduled to stand trial in February on charges including second-degree murder.