The day after an Amityville man representing himself at his murder trial tried to get his judge and prosecutor removed from the case, he pleaded guilty as jury selection was about to begin Thursday.
Jonathan Thompson, 34, admitted beating 4-year-old Adonis Reed so badly that he tore the boy's liver and bruised his kidneys, heart and lungs, causing his death. In return for Thompson's guilty plea to second-degree murder, Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn agreed to sentence Thompson to 15 years to life in prison on Nov. 17.
Thompson had sought to get Kahn and Assistant District Attorney Raphael Pearl removed from the case, citing his federal lawsuit against them, his former lawyer, and almost every agency connected with the case, claiming a "clear conspiracy" by all to violate his rights.
Thompson, 34, was seeking $500 million and a stay of his trial. His former attorney, Joseph Hanshe, said the lawsuit, in which he is also a defendant, likely will be dismissed in light of the guilty plea.
Thompson admitted in a videotaped statement that he had hit his girlfriend's godson because the boy wouldn't take a nap.
In the handwritten lawsuit filed last month, Thompson said the boy died from overzealous resuscitation efforts by first responders and medical malpractice at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.
During questioning by Pearl, Thompson acknowledged he was 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighed more than 175 pounds, while Adonis was about 4 feet tall and 45 pounds.
"The evidence was extremely strong," Pearl said afterward, saying it showed the boy suffered "at least seven impacts."
In a videotaped confession, Thompson demonstrated how he backhanded the boy, but Janet Albertson, chief of the district attorney office's Homicide Bureau, said he minimized what he did.
"The medical evidence was overwhelming, which is why the defendant pleaded guilty," she said.
Adonis' grandmother Linda Daniels said Thursday she was pleased Thompson pleaded guilty, although she felt the proposed sentence is too lenient.
She also remains upset that Suffolk Child Protective Services placed Adonis in the care of his godmother, Keisha Pitt, without checking on Thompson's background. He had served time for robbery and other crimes.
CPS has declined to comment on the case.
Hanshe, who helped negotiate the plea, said Thompson "was remorseful." He also said the medical evidence that the beating caused the death, as opposed to any poor medical care, was compelling.
"He's an intelligent guy," Hanshe said. "He saw a trial was not in his best interest."