Michigan man sentenced in death of infant he was babysitting

January 3, 2023 GMT

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — A southwestern Michigan man was sentenced Tuesday to at least 12 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty in the 2017 death of an infant he had been babysitting.

A Kalamazoo County Circuit Court judge sentenced Bryant Rolland Jr., 37, to 12 1/2 to 40 years in prison in the death of 11-month-old Jaceyon Downey. The Kalamazoo man had pleaded no contest in December to second-degree murder in the boy’s death.

Authorities said Rolland was babysitting Jaceyon and his then 3-year-old brother as he was watching six of his own children. Rolland was accused of pushing the infant down a set of stairs on Aug. 23, 2017, four days before the child died in a hospital, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.

Rolland had been found guilty of first-degree murder in the boy’s death in 2019 and sentenced to life in prison without parole. But he was granted a new trial after his attorney was deemed to have provided ineffective counsel.

Rolland was released from prison in December 2020, but he has been in the Kalamazoo County Jail since April 2021. The judge who sentenced Rolland on Tuesday gave him credit for nearly five years of incarceration.