TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A Tulsa County judge will formally sentence a man next month who pleaded no contest to first-degree murder in the death of a little Tulsa boy he was baby-sitting.
A prosecutor recommended a sentence of life plus 15 years in prison Monday for Steven Scott Farrell. The 32-year-old Glenpool resident is scheduled to be sentenced July 25.
A medical examiner listed the cause of 4-year-old Seth Saucier's death as ``blunt trauma of the head'' and indicated that choking could not be excluded as a contributing factor. Seth had a fractured skull and brain bleeding, among other injuries.
Farrell also pleaded no contest to a related count _ abuse of a child _ that was filed Monday as part of a plea agreement.
District Judge Jesse Harris found Farrell guilty and directed the Corrections Department to prepare a presentencing background report.
Farrell was baby-sitting Susan Reaves' five children Aug. 30 at her duplex while she was at work. Reaves was Farrell's girlfriend. Her children included Seth and four girls who ranged in age from 6 to 10, police reported.
Police Detective Chris Witt testified in a November preliminary hearing that Farrell told him he telephoned Reaves at work about 1 a.m. Aug. 31 ``because Seth wasn't breathing.''
Farrell said he did not call 911 because he was scared and ``he did not want to go to jail,'' Witt testified.
Farrell told investigators he choked the 4-year-old ``until his eyes rolled back in his head,'' Witt said. He also struck the child in the stomach and slapped him.
Farrell said he became angry after the boy had gotten out of bed and also because Seth had wet his pants, the detective has said.
As part of the plea deal, Sewell recommended a life term with parole possible for murder and a consecutive 15-year term for child abuse.
Defense attorney John Echols indicated that he has reserved the option of asking Harris to suspend part of Farrell's sentence.