Pennsylvania Parents Accused of Starving Their 9-Year-Old Son to Death Plead Guilty to Murder
Jarrod Tutko Jr. weighed less than 17 lbs. at the time of his death
A Pennsylvania couple pleaded guilty to third-degree murder on Monday in the August 2014 death of their 9-year-old son, PEOPLE confirms.
Jarrod Tutko Jr. weighed less than 17 lbs. at the time of his death. An autopsy concluded that he died of malnutrition and neglect.
Jarrod Tutko Sr. and his wife Kimberly were taken into custody last October after Kimberly called police to report that her son had died. His corpse allegedly decomposed for nearly a week inside the couple's Harrisburg home before the cops were called.
Kimberly, who sobbed as she entered her guilty plea, had initially stated that she had no part in her son's death, telling investigators she hadn't seen him for many years prior, PennLive.com reports. However, she later admitted to seeing him one or two days before he died.
The couple also pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault and child endangerment for neglecting their disabled 10-year-old daughter, Ariana.
Jarrod Jr. was found in a room covered in feces, with flies swarming around the room. His sister was also "incredibly dirty," according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Sean McCormack, and was on the verge of death when police found her.
McCormack tells PEOPLE that Ariana is now in foster care, where's she recovering slowly but surely. "Her quality of life has increased drastically," he says. "Her medical situation is still tenuous."
The couple, who face up to 27 years in prison, will be sentenced on Dec. 16, McCormack confirms.
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