A jury after four and a half hours of deliberation on Friday found a Liberty
Township resident guilty of two A felony charges in connection with the
March 2012 death of his girlfriend’s 7-month old son.
Benjamin M. Willis II, 25, of 1811 Vail Drive, was found guilty of Class A
neglect of a dependent felony and Class A battery felony charges punishable
by a term of 20 to 50 years in prison. The jury however found Willis not
guilty of a lesser Class D felony count of battery in a separate incident.
Willis is scheduled to be sentenced by Porter County Superior Court Judge
Roger Bradford on Monday, Dec. 16 at 1 p.m.
According to the probable cause affidavit filed by Porter County Sheriff’s
Police, EMS personnel were dispatched to Willis’ residence on March 8, 2012,
in response to an infant “gasping for breath” and observed “swelling and
crunching of bones” on the back of the head of Keagan Fishel.
Keagan was pronounced dead at 8:45 a.m. on March 10.
An autopsy determined that blunt force trauma to the head caused Keagan’s
death with multiple fractures and hemorrhages within and outside the skull.
The boy’s mother, Sasha Sabates, told police that earlier that day she
bathed her son, laid him down for his nap while Willis was sleeping in
another room. When she went to fetch Keagan, Sabates advised she saw that
her son was very pale, had vomited on himself and asked Willis to call 911.
Willis had denied hurting the infant and offered police alternative theories
that either a former girlfriend of his had injured Keagan or that Sabates
had dropped her son while giving him a bath.
The lesser battery charge stemmed from an earlier incident Sabates had told
police about. She advised she suspected Willis had hurt Keagan when she left
him alone with him in her car while she went into a convenience store in