WICHITA — A woman pleaded guilty this morning to aggravated endangering of her infant son, who later died.
The endangerment occurred during a period before Gerald McGee suffered severe injuries and died, the prosecutor said.
Deputy District Attorney Marc Bennett said the guilty plea does not answer the question of who killed Gerald.
Asked why no one has been charged with the boy's death, Bennett said: "The homicide of this child remains under investigation. ... No suspects have been eliminated at this point."
Gerald's mother, Courtney McGee, 20, originally was charged with aggravated battery in the case. She had given up her right to a trial by jury and instead was facing a bench trial — to be decided by a judge — with the trial set to begin this morning.
Instead, under a plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to an amended charge of aggravated endangering of a child.
Gerald was 7 months old when he died in March in a hospice unit at a Wichita hospital about two months after he was admitted with severe head injuries. He had been living in Goddard.
Bennett noted that the time frame for the endangering-a-child charge is between Dec. 24, 2009, and Jan. 18, 2010 — up to the day before Gerald suffered severe injuries on Jan. 19, when he was taken to a hospital.
McGee could face a sentence of probation to a maximum of 17 months in prison and a $100,000 fine.
McGee, who remains free on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 12.
The endangerment charge means that McGee was accused of allowing her son to be in an environment where he could be hurt, said McGee's attorney, Linda Priest.
An autopsy found that Gerald's death was a homicide caused by a traumatic brain injury.
Citing the autopsy, Bennett said after the guilty plea: "The child didn't die of accidental causes. Somebody killed this child."
Priest, McGee's attorney said, "It's been horrible" for McGee. "She lost her baby. It's been devastating for her. She is a victim in this as well."
McGee's eyes welled with tears as she quietly answered questions from Judge Tony Powell about whether she understood her guilty plea.