WEST PALM BEACH - A Riviera Beach man has received an eight-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to a charge of aggravated child abuse in the 2018 death of a toddler in West Palm Beach.
At the time of his arrest in 2019, West Palm Beach police investigators alleged that Octavious Wiggins beat Jeremiah Malachi Bradshaw, his girlfriend's 23-month-old son, with a belt on Nov. 1, 2018, causing injuries that resulted in the child's death a little over three weeks later.
Wiggins, now 32, entered the plea during a Jan. 30 hearing before Circuit Judge Caroline Shepherd at the Palm Beach County Courthouse in West Palm Beach. The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office dropped a second charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child.
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An older child told police Wiggins spanked Jeremiah after the toddler fell in the road. Stephanie Robinson, Jeremiah's mother, told investigators she left the toddler under Wiggins' care for about 30 minutes and found the child in distress upon her return.
Robinson said Wiggins told her he spanked the child with a belt and "blacked out" while administering the punishment. Robinson was later arrested on a child-neglect charge, with police alleging that she failed to maintain a safe environment for her son. She has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
Investigators said Robinson ignored a restraining order prohibiting Wiggins from having contact with the child. Robinson and the Florida Department of Children and Families had filed the restraining order after Jeremiah had suffered a broken arm in June 2018.
Robinson told investigators at the time she suspected Wiggins was responsible for the injury. However, while reporting the November 2018 incident, Robinson initially told investigators her son was injured during a fall at the park, police said.
During Monday's sentencing hearing, Shepherd ordered that Wiggins' prison term be followed by five years of probation. She credited Wiggins with a year of time served in jail.
Julius Whigham II is a criminal justice and public safety reporter for The Palm Beach Post. You can reach him firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at@JuliusWhigham. Help support our work:Subscribe today.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Man pleads guilty to 2018 beating death of Jeremiah Malachi Bradshaw