Ely man pleads guilty to manslaughter in toddler’s death

December 19, 2022 GMT

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A northeast Nevada man who originally was charged with the murder of a toddler in his care in 2019 has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter within Indian Country as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

Colon Jackson, 30, a member of the Ely Shoshone Tribe, was arrested in August 2019 and charged with first-degree murder in the death of the 3-year-old girl on the reservation in Ely about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of the Utah line.

Jackson, whose girlfriend was the victim’s mother, entered the guilty plea to the manslaughter charge in Reno last week after the U.S. attorney’s office for Nevada filed the new plea-bargain agreement on the lesser charge Dec. 12. It calls for him to serve 15 years in prison, pay a $250,000 fine and be subject to three years of supervised release.

According to the plea deal, Jackson admitted that “while in a sudden quarrel or heat of passion, caused by adequate provocation,” he killed the girl, recklessly “but without malice ... by shaking and throwing her body.”

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Jackson had been in jail in White Pine County since a federal grand jury indicted him in August 2019 on one count of first-degree murder. The indictment said the girl’s mother picked her up at a day care on Jan. 9, 2019, and took her home so Jackson could care for her while the mother was at work.

Jackson later telephoned her at work and told her the girl was unconscious. The mother came home and took the girl to an emergency room before she was flown to a hospital in Salt Lake City where she died, the indictment said.

The case had been scheduled to go to trial next month in federal court in Reno. U.S. Assistant Attorney Penelope Brady wrote in the Dec. 12 filing that Jackson acknowledges that if he elected to go to trial instead of pleading guilty, prosecutors could prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Judge Larry Hicks has scheduled formal sentencing for March 9, 2023.