Leavenworth resident pleads guilty to murder
A Leavenworth man has pleaded guilty to murdering a four-year-old child.
Jason Lee Jones, 33, pleaded guilty Friday in Leavenworth County District Court to one count of second-degree murder and one count of abuse of a child for the death of Gabriel Rivera.
Rivera died from blunt force trauma Oct. 4, 2009, while his mother, Monica Rivera, was away from the home and left him in the care of Jones, who was her live-in fiancé at the time.
Jones’ attorney, Carl Cornwell, and the state, represented by Deputy County Attorney John Bryant and Assistant County Attorney Cheryl Marquardt, jointly recommended a 30-year prison sentence to the court in accordance with a plea agreement.
“Jones was facing ... 20 years to life,” County Attorney Todd Thompson said. “The state entered the plea agreement to ensure that Jones would serve 30 years. Another factor in arriving at the plea was the state’s position that it is in the best interests of Jones’ son not to have to testify against his father.”
Jones’ 11-year-old son was in the home the day Rivera sustained multiple injuries for which he was hospitalized and that ultimately caused his death.
Judge Gunnar Sundby ordered further investigation be done before he would rule on Jones’ sentence. Sentencing for Jones is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. June 18.
The mother, 28, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of her son.