BANGOR, Maine — A Lawrence, Mass., man admitted Thursday that he caused the death of his former girlfriend’s 15-month-old son last year.
Edgard B. Anziani, 28, pleaded guilty to manslaughter during a hearing at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor.
Anziani was indicted in March 2010 on charges of murder and manslaughter for the February 2010 death of Damien Lynn, son of Cheryl Metzger, 22, of Bangor and Patrick Lynn of Orrington. Metzger and Lynn had two children together. Their older child, now 4, lives with his father.
Anziani pleaded not guilty to both charges in April of that year. In a plea agreement with the Maine Attorney General’s Office, the murder charge will be dismissed when Anziani is sentenced this summer.
Wearing black slacks, a blue dress shirt and tie, Anziani sat quietly at the defense table throughout the 40-minute hearing. Anziani showed no emotion as Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea read a detailed account of the child’s multiple injuries from the autopsy report.
The autopsy found that the boy’s injuries included several broken bones, numerous head injuries and a human bite mark on his arm, Zainea told Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy on Thursday.
During the prosecutor’s account of the injuries, Metzger broke down sobbing and rushed from the courtroom. Many of the friends and family who came with her to the courthouse also cried during the hearing.
Lynn and Metzger declined Thursday to speak to reporters, but have said they will comment on the case after Anziani has been sentenced.
The sentencing is tentatively scheduled for June 24.
The plea agreement does not include sentencing recommendations, and Anziani faces up to 30 years in prison. If he had been convicted of murder, Anziani would have faced a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life.
Zainea declined to talk about what sentence she might recommend. It is the practice of the Attorney General’s Office not to comment on cases until after they have been resolved.
In an impromptu press conference outside the courthouse, defense attorney Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor said that his client did not react as Zainea outlined the evidence the state would present if he had gone to trial because Anziani already was very familiar with it.
Silverstein declined to say what sentence he would recommend.
Anziani had been staying with Metzger on and off for about four months at her apartment at 55 Bald Mountain Drive and was caring for the toddler in the early morning hours of Feb. 23, 2010, while Metzger was in the hospital being treated for abdominal pain, according to police and court documents.
The toddler was unresponsive when rescue personnel responded to a 911 call just after 7 a.m.
Anziani, who had been alone with the child for several hours, met the ambulance and crew in the driveway and handed them the toddler, who “was blue and not breathing,” a police affidavit stated. An hour later, the child was pronounced dead at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
Anziani told police, Metzger and her family that the boy was injured when he fell down a flight of stairs at the apartment.
The state medical examiner’s office determined that the toddler’s injuries “could not be explained by a simple fall down six or seven steps,” the affidavit stated.
After receiving the autopsy report, Bangor police charged Anziani with murder on Feb. 25, 2010. By then, he had fled the area.
Anziani was arrested on March 1, 2010, by the FBI in Bladensburg, Md., and returned to Maine 10 days later.
Silverstein said after Thursday’s hearing that exactly what happened in the early morning hours 14 months ago might never be known even though Anziani will have the opportunity to address the judge when he is sentenced.
“We may learn more at the sentencing, but we may never learn how this happened,” Silverstein said. “That’s something he has to come to peace with.”
After serving his sentence, Anziani — whose brother Davis Anziani and father, Victor Anziani, both of Lawrence, Mass., sat behind him in court — is not likely to be set free. A native of the Dominican Republic who has lived in the United States most of his life, Edgard Anziani is expected to be deported after serving his sentence.
He will continue to be held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail until his sentencing.