ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The case of a small child's death will close this September. Erin Bell, 21, Bridgeport, pleaded guilty to the murder of her daughter, two-year-old Mylie Marie Bell.
Last Wednesday Bell went before Common Pleas Court John M. Solovan II and pleaded guilty to murder and child endangerment. Three other charges were dropped. Sentencing was set for Sept. 21.
Last January authorities were called to Lansing Garden Apartments in Wolfhurst. Bell's daughter was transported to Wheeling hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. The autopsy showed blunt trauma to the head as the cause of death.
The Department of Job and Family Services removed a four-year-old sibling from the home.
Trial had been delayed by defense's request for forensic evaluation of the reports, but had been set for this past Tuesday.
"In lieu of going to trial she decided to accept responsibility and pled guilty to murder and felony child endangering," said Belmont County Prosecutor Chris Berhalter. "At the sentencing hearing we'll be arguing for the maximum sentence that can be imposed, which is life imprisonment."
The prosecution had alleged that Bell abused the child and neglected to seek medical help for her.
"This was one of the most disturbing cases we have had. In this case we had a two-and-a-half-year-old innocent child who was murdered. The child suffered from a fractured skull and showed signs of extensive abuse. We were determined to hold the person who did this responsible and we had planned on proceeding to trial to do just that.
"However, just prior to trial the person responsible, this child's mother, pled guilty to murder and felony child endangering."
He added that Bell had not provided an explanation at the time of her plea.
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