Jacob Wootton has been sentenced to 52 years in prison for the death of his two year old son Ryder Wooton. According to court documents ambulance attendants went to the Wooton household after receiving a 911 call for an unresponsive child. Ryder Wooton would be rushed to the hospital however would die three days later. Jacob Wooton told police that the child had fallen in the bathtub and was unresponsive so he smacked him a couple of times and bit him on the face to revive him. An autopsy on Ryder Wooton reveal the cause of death as homicide caused by a blunt force trauma to the head. Jacob Wooton would be arrested along with his then wife Alyson Stephen and both would be charged with murder. Jacob Wooton be convicted of one count of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, and one count of being a habitual offender. Alyson Stephen has yet to go to trial.
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An Elwood man has entered a guilty plea to neglect of a dependent resulting in death, but he still faces a murder charge in the case.
Jacob Wootton, 29, pleaded guilty Monday in Madison Circuit Court Division 1 to the Level 1 felony charge in the 2019 death of 23-month-old Ryder Stephen.
Defense attorney Mark Nicholson said there is no plea agreement with the state on any charges, and that Wootton wants to plead guilty to the neglect charge and two misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.
Circuit Court 1 Judge Angela Warner Sims set sentencing on the guilty pleas for Feb. 18.
In a Nov. 30 email, Deputy Prosecutor Jesse Miller said Jacob Wootton could plead guilty to any of the charges, but there is no plea offer on the murder charge.
“My client can’t plead guilty to murder for something he didn’t do,” Nicholson said Monday.
He said he hoped that by pleading guilty to the neglect of a dependent, the state would dismiss the murder charge.
“There is no offer from the state,” Judge Sims reiterated.
She has not set a trial date for Jacob Wootton on the murder charge,
When Miller read the factual basis for the guilty plea on the neglect charge in court Monday, the cause of death was stated as multiple blunt force trauma.
Jacob Wootton denied the allegation of blunt force trauma, which is part of the murder charge.
Nicholson stated the child, Wootton’s stepson, died while in his client’s care. On Oct. 29, 2018, Wootton placed the boy in a bathtub. He left the bathroom, heard a noise and discovered the child had fallen.
Jacob Wooten testified that he was on drugs at the time and that if not for the drug use, he would not have left the child alone.
Miller said the coroner’s office determined the injuries Ryder suffered were not consistent with a fall.
When asked by Judge Sims, Wootton said Ryder suffered injuries before the fall.
Alyson Stephen, who was married to Wootton at the time, is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death. No trial date has been set for her.
The couple has since divorced.
Ryder was found unresponsive while in Wootton’s care, according to an affidavit of probable cause by Detective Ben Gosnell.
Alyson Stephen told police she put Ryder in the infant bathtub while she got ready for work and left him with Jacob Wootton when she went to work. She said she was at work when Ryder was taken to the hospital.
Elwood police officer Jerry Branson said the toddler was not breathing and was cold to the touch when he arrived at the residence.
Branson performed CPR on Ryder, who was taken to Ascension St. Vincent Mercy Hospital before being transported to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
Riley doctors pronounced the toddler dead three days later.
During Ryder’s autopsy, Dr. Chris Poulos, chief physical pathologist for the Marion County coroner, found multiple bruises on Ryder’s head and body, Detective Gosnell said in his affidavit.
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A Madison County judge has handed down a sentence in connection to the death of a toddler.
Jacob Wootton, 29, received a 52-year sentence after pleading guilty in December to charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and other various drug charges. An earlier murder charge against Wootton has been dismissed.
Jacob Wootton was 26 when his 2-year-old stepson died in his care in October of 2018.
Court documents show on October 26, 2018, Wootton told police he had forgot about the toddler in the tub. Wootton said he believed the boy had fell and hit his head while he was checking on two other kids in the house.
The child had multiple bruises on his body, and Wootton said at the time, he smacked the boy a few times and bit him on the face to try to get him to wake up. He also waited 20 minutes to call 911, according to prosecutors.
The toddler was pronounced dead at the hospital on Oct. 29. The coroner ruled the child died from blunt force trauma and also had a hemorrhage in an optic nerve.
During an interview with police, one of the boy’s siblings said, “Jake gives baths but also whoops us too.”
The boy’s mother, Alyson Stephen, was at work during the incident. She was also charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death. No trial date has been set for her yet.
Stephen and Wootton have since divorced.