Sha’reese M. Miller said little Monday when she pleaded guilty to second-degree felony manslaughter in the June 2013 death of her 4-year-old son Key’Ontay Miller-Peterson.
Miller, 25, wasn’t accused of the violent beatings that ultimately killed the boy. Her boyfriend, William Warr, 26, is accused of that and is scheduled to go on trial June 1 in Dakota County District Court for first-degree murder.
Defense attorney Deaundres Wilson led Miller through the plea petition:
Did Miller allow Warr to be around her and the children despite filing an order for protection in 2012 and swearing that he had assaulted her more than 100 times?
“Yes,” Miller answered.
Was she aware that Warr repeatedly assaulted Key’Ontay? Did she leave the boy alone in Warr’s care even though numerous family members told her the boy was in danger?
“Yes” and “yes.”
Did Warr dissuade her from taking the children to the doctor or hospital? Is it fair to say you were fearful of him?
Key’Ontay told his mother, his day care providers and other family members that Warr punched him in the stomach, gave him a black eye and whipped him with a belt. Day care workers and family members reported the abuse to child protection in Hennepin County and then Dakota County after Miller and her children moved to Burnsville in May 2013. Each report was closed after Miller denied there was any abuse.
Key’Ontay, who died June 11, 2013, was part of a special report on child protective services last year by the Star Tribune.
The official cause of death was blunt-force trauma. The boy had a tear in his small intestine and died of sepsis. An autopsy showed that Key’Ontay’s body was covered with bruises and adult bite marks. He had rib fractures in various stages of healing.
Prosecutor Stacy St. George reminded Miller that she had no sentencing agreement and the state planned to ask for just shy of six years in prison when Miller is sentenced June 19. The defense will be able to ask for a lesser sentence or probation.
Her attorney told District Judge David Knutson that Miller suffered from anxiety, depression and PTSD as a result of domestic abuse.