Norman Man Pleads Guilty in Toddler Son's Death12-Sep-2016
A Norman father who left three small children unsupervised has pleaded guilty to murder after his 15-month-old son died while his parents were out.
Zekeil Taylor Trinidad, 24, pleaded guilty Thursday to second degree murder and two counts of child neglect. Cleveland County District Judge Lori Walkley sentenced Trinidad to 30 years in prison, with 10 years suspended, on each of the three counts. All sentences are to run concurrently.
The case began in late August 2015, when Trinidad and his children's mother, Courtney Mays, 23, called 9-1-1 in response to finding their 15-month-old son unconscious at a Norman area motel.
When first responders arrived, Trinidad and Mays gave conflicting stories about how the child's injuries occurred, and video surveillance at a nearby Walmart contradicted their stories.
Initially, the couple told police that Trinidad left the hotel room to get pizza for the family, and Mays buckled her 4-month-old and 15-month-old children into their car seats, leaving them and a 4-year-old sibling in the room alone while she stepped outside for "15-20 minutes" to smoke a cigarette.
Mays told investigators that she heard the toddler crying, but did not go back into the hotel room until Trinidad returned with the pizza. When they entered the room, they found the 15-month-old unconscious in his car seat, which had tipped over on its side, its leg straps unbuckled and the chest clip against the baby's throat.
However, video surveillance tells a much different story. Hotel video shows the couple left the motel together at 8:05 p.m. A nearby Walmart captured the pair entering the store at 8:13 and exiting nearly 40 minutes later, at 8:51. It was more than an hour after that, at 9:53 p.m., that the parents of the three children called 9-1-1 to report that their 15-month-old son was not breathing.
Courtney Mays pleaded guilty to the same charges of second degree murder and child neglect in July. She was also sentenced to 30 years with 10 suspended for each count, and all sentences to run concurrently.
As a result of his arrest and charges, Trinidad also had two deferred sentences accelerated, leading to convictions for drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Since his arrest on second degree murder charges last year, he was also charged in additional cases: marijuana possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, and carrying weapons. He pleaded guilty to those charges last week as well.
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