A Jordan man accused of murdering his 18-month-old foster child pleaded guilty to second-degree murder without intent, but the judge hasn't decided whether to accept the plea.
Jason Robert Betlach, 32, was arrested in November 2018 after the autopsy of the child indicated the cause of death was extensive brain damage due to "blunt force head and neck injury."
Betlach admitted in Scott County District Court Friday morning to shaking the crying child until they were unresponsive. Betlach also admitted to being in a position of authority and that the victim was in a position of vulnerability due to age — admissions that may be taken into consideration as aggravating factors.
Judge Rex Stacey delayed his decision on whether to accept the plea bargain and ordered a pre-sentence investigation. Betlach is being held at Scott County Jail without bail. His jury trial was set to start in March.
If the plea bargain is accepted, Betlach would be dismissed of three additional counts of murder. Those charges are:
- First-degree murder while committing child abuse with a past pattern of child abuse.
- First-degree murder while committing domestic abuse with a past pattern of domestic abuse.
- Second-degree murder with intent (not premeditated).