Mississippi man avoids death penalty, takes plea deal in 2019 death of 6-year-old boy

Published 6:00 am Monday, August 22, 2022

A Mississippi man decided to take a plea bargain Sunday instead of facing the death penalty in a trial that was to start Monday.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that Joshua Lewis Oakley, 31, of Tupelo, was sentenced to 45 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and child neglect in the 2019 death of 6-year-old Camden Blair.

Oakley was scheduled to go to trial Monday and would have faced the death penalty if he was convicted. Oakley decided to take the plea bargain on Sunday.

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According to police, Oakley was babysitting Blair for his girlfriend, the child’s mother, when the 6-year-old sustained life-threatening injuries. The child was transported to an Arkansas hospital where he later died.

Officials contend that the injuries were not accidental.