Man pleads guilty in death of Randolph County toddler

HUNTSVILLE, Mo. - A Randolph County man will spend the next 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of a toddler.

Joseph Laswell, 23, of Clark had a pre-trial conference Thursday afternoon and during the conference, he accepted a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and abuse of a child.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for both counts, but they will be served concurrently.

Laswell admitted to getting angry with 18-month-old Jayden Bradds in Nov. 2012.

As part of the plea deal, the judge ordered Laswell to give details about Jayden's death. Laswell told the court Jayden and his sister were fighting while their mother was at work.

Laswell says Jayden's sister pushed Jayden, causing him to cry. When Jayden would not stop crying, Laswell said he pushed the toddler to the floor again and threw his cellphone at Jayden's head.

When Jayden's mother returned from work, Laswell reportedly lied to her about what had happened and they put Jayden to sleep later in the night.

The next morning, Laswell found Jayden unresponsive and he was pronounced dead.

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