CRIME

Maryland man pleads guilty in fatal abuse of 2-year-old, faces up to 55 years in prison

A Maryland man has pleaded guilty to fatally abusing a 2-year-old boy by kicking and shaking the toddler, beating him with a belt and cleaning his teeth with a wire brush meant for barbecue grills.

The Frederick News-Post reported (http://bit.ly/1zJAqjn) that 40-year-old Raymond Matthew Brittle of Thurmont pleaded guilty Thursday to first- and second-degree child abuse resulting in the Sept. 8, 2013, death of Robert Watkins. Prosecutors dropped other charges, including second-degree murder, in a plea deal.

State's Attorney Charlie Smith said Robert's mother had put the boy in Brittle's care about six months earlier. She considered Brittle her step-grandfather.

Brittle faces up to 55 years in prison at his sentencing Feb. 3, including up to 40 years for first-degree child abuse.

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Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com