LOCKPORT - A Niagara Falls man with a history of violence pleaded guilty to assaulting a 3-year-old boy, just as jury selection for his trial was scheduled to begin Monday.
Because of his past criminal record, Desmond L. Bitting, 25, of Ontario Avenue, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in state prison. He decided to plead guilty to second-degree assault rather than go to trial on that charge.
Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III promised Bitting the five-year sentence "if you take a plea now, before the victim has to testify."
He will impose that sentence, plus five years of post-release supervision, when Bitting returns to court June 12. The legal maximum sentence for the charge is seven years.
Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco said the boy was hospitalized for three days after Bitting hit him in the head and genitals. Bitting said he had been asked to watch the child and said, "I pushed him."
Bitting's record includes a state prison sentence for a 2010 weapons possession conviction and a misdemeanor assault conviction in 2014.
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