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Posted on Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

Man accused of killing 15-month-old boy rejects plea deal

By Kyle Feldscher

The man accused of killing a 15-month-old boy when he was babysitting him last year rejected a plea offer that would have sent him to prison for a minimum of 30 years.


Michael Curtiss

Michael Curtiss, 34, appeared in court for a final pretrial hearing Tuesday in front of Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Donald Shelton. Curtiss is accused of pushing 15-month-old Chase Miller into a TV stand on the night of Oct. 21 at his Ypsilanti Township home while Curtiss was high on heroin.

The hearing had been delayed a week because his attorney, Washtenaw County First Assistant Public Defender Lorne Brown, said Curtiss was likely to take a plea deal.

That fizzled out in court Tuesday. Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Blake Hatlem put the plea deal on the record: Curtiss could plead guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree child abuse and prosecutors would enter into a sentencing agreement calling for a prison sentence of between 30 and 50 years.

Curtiss refused to take the deal, even though Shelton told him he could be facing a mandatory life sentence if found guilty on a felony murder charge.

“It’s already a life sentence, the way I see it,” Curtiss said.

Curtiss faces charges of open murder, first-degree child abuse and possession of less than 25 grams of heroin. He’s held in the Washtenaw County Jail without bond.

Curtiss appeared in court Tuesday with a heavy cast on his right forearm. He looked back at his family members gathered in the first room of the second-floor courtroom on a number of occasions.

Perhaps the most telling moment was when he peered back at the group of family members and shook his head slightly with a frown on his face.

His case was called originally toward the beginning of Shelton’s Tuesday afternoon docket. However, the case was passed for Hatlem and Brown to continue plea negotiations.

It did not take long for Brown to pass along the news that Curtiss wasn’t going to take the prosecution’s offer.

“We respectfully request this matter be continued for trial,” Brown said upon returning to the court.

Curtiss’ trial is scheduled for 8 a.m. April 15 in Shelton’s court.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

You are guilty until proven innocent. Which is supported by the majority of comments on here. The only fact that anyone knows is that a precious young life was taken away from a little boy. There is no arguing how devestating this event is however shame on society and our system for automatically assuminig this man is guilty. I agree that trails are very exepensive. How about the thousands of innocent people who are accused and tried of crimes that they didn't commit? Do you not think it is expensive for them to pay for a good attorney to even stand a fighting chance to stand up against a society who has the mindset, especially when it involves children, that if the person is accused of doing something they must have done it? Do you think those people are given an apology and their thousands of dollars back for their attorney fees and the loss of income from not being able to work? Not a chance. I pray that God is watching over this case and that justice pervails but don't kid yourself, if you are ever put in a situation where it can't be as clear as day that you are innocent, then you are automatically guilty.

Lisa Stevens Patterson

Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

This is sad all the way around. But a lil man lost his life because a choice that Mr. Curtiss made and he should have to pay for his actions. Lil man did not have a choice .


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

There is also a little man still here and has lost a father he loves dearly!! There are many facts that all of you do not know nor have you heard with your own ears!!


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 9:13 a.m.

He said it himself... "It's already a life sentence"... men in jail don't take kindly to baby killers. They'll take care of him better than our justice system ever will.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

What kind of world do we live in when people believe in an eye for an eye?? Sad...all those praying or hurt and pain. It's said and clearly have no idea hat or how to pray! The god I pray to s a just and forgiving god!


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 2:40 a.m.

Refuse it, you will pay more dearly when you are found guilty.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 11:34 p.m.

I wish people would know what has really happened before u run away with it,he knows he is wrong but why not go to trial he is getting life anyway...maybe he can prove some points he has but do know he knows what has happened an prays everyday for his actions....anyone deserves a fight especially if they say that's not how things happened!


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 3:52 p.m.

People can only judge on the story hat as been released! If they knew everything like family and close friends they might think differently!


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

Mermaid if he prayed he wouldn't get caught he would not have driven himself to he police station and volunteer to talk with detectives!!

Slim Jim

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 12:23 a.m.

Jury trials are expensive, and they take time away from the families of jurors, and for what, someone who wants to throw the dice and hope someone believes his lies? He needs to do the right thing and plead guilty, not even ask for a plea deal. I will pray for this. I will also pray that single mothers stop trusting the care of their children to boyfriends.


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

The poor child is dead while under his "care"..... Something happened. He prays for his actions? I bet he does, he probably prayed that he would not get caught. Which points does he have to prove, that it never happened? I really don't understand what you are trying to say here. Perhaps you know this Curtiss & could tell us more about him, it would be interesting to know what makes someone like him tick.


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 1:30 a.m.

I wonder what alternative explanations for the child's death has been offered.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

He thinks a jury will have sympathy? Suffer the consequences of your decision...

Jack Gladney

Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

Great. Now make sure he get life with no possibility of parole and a free pass to Hell when the corpse assumes room temperature, if he is found guilty (requirement to say "if" met under the terms of service so as not to presume guilt).


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

Jack gladney everyone has a free pass to heaven as well and I am positive that Michael has asked for this forgiveness! May read the bible before you past judgement!


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

Apparently he thinks a jury will feel sorry for him and not the 15 month old child.


Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

Maybe a jury will listen to all the facts and find a horrible accident happened!

Slim Jim

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 12:15 a.m.

@M - what are you going to say if he wins on a technicality and walks out a free man?


Wed, Mar 27, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

This is Ann Arbor.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 10:17 p.m.

I didn't take it that way. It seems practical to me - get out at 64-84 years old, or at least try to fight it. I still think he's toast, and doesn't stand a chance, but I understand the desire to fight it.


Tue, Mar 26, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

If found guilty then toss the keys. Anyone that hurts a child is (left blank).