Prosecutors seeking death penalty for local man charged in death of girlfriend’s 3-year-old son

Prosecutors seeking death penalty for local man charged in death of girlfriend’s 3-year-old son
(Pennsylvania State Police)

WESTMORELAND CO., Pa. — Westmoreland County prosecutors are planning to seek the death penalty against a man charged with homicide in connection to the death of a 3-year-old boy.

Keith David Lilly Jr., 31, was initially charged in April after Mikel Fetterman – who had just turned 3 years old – was taken to Children’s Hospital on March 26 for “life saving measures." Fetterman died from his injuries weeks later on April 24.

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Both Lilly and Fetterman’s mother -- Teresa Fetterman -- are facing several charges related to the boy’s death. Lilly was charged with homicide, among others, while Fetterman was slapped with manslaughter.

Channel 11 News' exchange partners at TribLIVE reported Wednesday that Assistant District Attorney Judy Petrush cited “three aggravated circumstances that, if proved, warrant a sentence of death by lethal injection” for Lilly.

The Trib reported that Petrush said Lilly qualifies for the death penalty because he killed a child, has a lengthy history of felony convictions and killed the child while “in commission of another felony.”

Court records show Lilly pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and strangulation after a another woman was attacked in 2018. Police said Lilly punched her 20 times in the face and choked her after she rejected his attempts to have sex. According to TribLIVE, the woman was pregnant at the time of the attack.

Background on the incident:

Investigators said someone called for help for an unresponsive child at approximately 1 a.m. that morning.

Lilly was originally arrested on April 3 for aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person.

According to investigators, the mother said she was sleeping while she left the boy in Lilly’s care the night 911 was called. Lilly allegedly told officers Fetterman fell off the couch.

Lilly initially told police he gave the boy Tylenol and then found him not breathing before calling 911.

Doctors also said this wasn’t the first time Fetterman was abused. They told investigators there were both new and old injuries resulting from physical trauma and suspected sexual abuse.