AUSTIN (KXAN) — The man who police say had a role in the death of 2-year-old Colton Turner is expected to take a plea deal on Friday.
Michael Turner’s attorney, Steve Brand, confirms his client was offered the deal, but did not want to go into specifics about the offer.
Some of Colton’s family members told KXAN they got a call from the Travis County District Attorney Tuesday.
“My sister got a phone call today from the DA saying Mike had been offered a plea deal of 20 years and he accepted it,” said Diane Battles, Colton Turner’s great aunt on his biological father’s side.
Turner, 31, is currently in the Travis County Jail—where he’s been since September 2014—charged with injury to a child and tampering with evidence.
“He’s still going to be young enough that he can get out, and go on with his life. Colton can’t,” said Battles. “We want people to know that it’s not okay to kill your children and throw them away. They need to pay for what they did to Colton.”
According to court documents, Meagan Work, the child’s mother, told police Colton hit his head on an air conditioning unit as the result of an assault in July 2014. He later had what appeared to be a seizure and died. Work told investigators she was afraid she and Turner, who is not the child’s biological father, would get in trouble if they took the toddler to the emergency room.
After several days of searching for the child, Austin police say Turner led them to the boy’s body buried in a field in Southeast Austin on Sept. 12, 2014.
Local criminal defense attorney Amber Vazquez Bode, who is not connected to the Colton Turner case, said cooperating and helping investigators can often benefit a defendant.
“It is very common for that defendant to be offered the best deal out of multiple co-defendants in the case,” said Vazquez Bode.
Another factor prosecutors had to take into consideration was a ruling made by Judge David Walhberg last fall. He decided to suppress the bulk of statements made by Work while she was in custody in Williamson County. That move would likely hurt the state’s case against Turner if he went on trial.
Brand says the deal will go before Judge Walherg on Friday, and he expects his client to plead guilty. When asked if the deal would be good for his client, Brand said, “yes.”
Work, 21, is charged with tampering with evidence and injury to a child. Her next court appearance is scheduled for March 4.