Walter Richters has agreed to testify against the deceased teen's mother

By Chris Harris
Updated October 30, 2015 05:40 PM
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Credit: Michael Beniash/Caledonian-Record/AP

A Vermont man arrested for allegedly killing his girlfriend’s severely disabled 13-year-old son by putting vodka into his intravenous feeding bag pleaded to a lesser charge this week.

Walter Richters of Hardwick, Vermont, appeared in court on Wednesday to admit that he did, in fact, poison the IV bag with vodka, a court official tells PEOPLE.

The IV provided crucial medicines and nutrients to Isaac Robitille’s blood stream, keeping him alive.

Richters pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Wednesday, and the 38-year-old faces between 4 and 15 years in prison at his impending sentencing, which hasn’t yet been scheduled, a court official confirms to PEOPLE.

Richters and the severely disabled boy’s mother, Melissa Robitelle, were initially charged with murder almost two months after the child’s death in August 2014. Police allege the vodka was added to the IV bag to stop the boy from being “fussy.”

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Officials confirm Isaac was born blind and with no ears, that he had a cleft palette and that he could not talk or walk. His brain never fully developed and doctors initially told Isaac’s mother the child wouldn’t survive passed six months, officials say.

Medical examiners determined that Isaac’s blood alcohol level was twice the state’s legal limit at the time of his death.

A court official confirms that, under the deal’s terms, Richters has agreed to testify against Isaac’s mother during her upcoming trial.

A plea deal that would have seen Richters serve a little more than a year behind bars was rejected last moth by a judge who deemed it not punitive enough.