CONCORD, NH (AP) — The boyfriend of the mother of a 5-year-old boy killed in New Hampshire plans to plead guilty to manslaughter, according to a court document.
Joseph Stapf, 31, was initially charged with child endangerment and witness tampering in connection with the disappearance of Elijah Lewis. He also plans to plead guilty to second-degree assault, tampering with physical evidence and tampering with witnesses, according to a notice of plea filed in court Friday.
A plea and sentencing hearing for Stapf was scheduled for Jan. 4, 2023. The fully negotiated plea carries a sentence of 22 to 45 years in prison, according to the document filed by Stapf’s attorney.
Elijah’s mother, Danielle Dauphinais, 36, has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.
Lewis was missing and later found dead in Abington, Massachusetts, last October. An autopsy showed he suffered from facial and scalp injuries, acute fentanyl poisoning, malnutrition and pressure sores.
While Lewis was still missing, Stapf and Dauphinais were arrested in New York that month for witness tampering and child endangerment. A few days after their arrest, Elijah’s remains were found. Dauphinais and Stapf are still in prison.
Dauphinais was charged earlier this year with one count of first degree murder alleging she deliberately caused the death of her son, one count of second degree murder alleging she acted recklessly in causing his death and three counts of witness tampering. She pleaded not guilty. Some motions have been filed in his case; a hearing is scheduled for October 26.
Dauphinais is accused of killing her son between September 27, 2020 and September 24, 2021. She is also accused of telling two people to lie and say the boy was with them in October and telling a third not to speak to the investigators. .
Arrest records have been sealed and attorneys are under an order keeping the information confidential.
“The attorney cannot discuss the facts of the case in open court with the Court without breaching the Court’s confidentiality order,” says a document from one of Staph’s attorneys requesting a status conference. in court in August.
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