Chesterton Tribune



Valpo man pleads guilty in death of 2 year old local boy, faces 30 years

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The Valparaiso man charged in connection with the death of a 2-year-old Chesterton boy last summer--his girlfriend’s son--is facing 30 years in prison after admitting he shook the boy violently, then told investigators that the boy fell off a trampoline.

Felix Richard Duron, 27, with a listed address of 380 Clearcreek Road, was originally charged with neglect of a dependent, a Level 1 felony punishable by a term of 20 to 40 years; and battery, a Level 2 felony punishable by a term of 10 to 30 years.

Under the agreement, Duron would plead guilty to neglect of a dependent, with a stipulated sentence of 35 years in the Indiana Department of Correction. Five of those years would be suspended and served on formal probation, leaving Duron a term of 30 years in the DOC.

Under new statutory sentence ranges which took effect in Indiana on July 1, 2014--18 days before Duron, in a fit of anger, picked up Bently Mihal and shook him--Duron would be required to serve 75 percent of that prison term: 22 and a half years.

Prior to July 1, 2014, a 30-year prison sentence effectively meant 15 years behind bars: half of the term, that is, as prisoners were given one day of credit for each day actually served.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by Det. Sgt. Chuck Rinker, Duron originally advised police that he found the 2-year-old Bently lying unconscious on the ground next to a trampoline, in the backyard of his girlfriend’s home in the 1000 block of Woodlawn Ave. Duron guessed that the boy had either fallen or jumped off the trampoline and landed hard.

Bently was airlifted to University of Chicago Medicine Comer’s Children Hospital, where he died on July 20 of bilateral brain hemorrhage, indicative of a traumatic injury.

On July 30, however, Duron changed his version of events, saying that he’d actually pushed the boy down a hallway to the toilet, causing him to trip and hit his head on the floor and a wooden shelf, Rinker stated in his affidavit. Duron also said that he waited 20 minutes to call 911, during which time he tried to revive him.

Finally, on Sept. 23, Duron changed his story one last time, saying that he’d been awakened by the boy’s crying and had walked him to the bathroom, where Bently fell at the step, evidently irritating Duron, Rinker stated.

“In a fit of extreme anger and resentment” he picked up the boy to the level of his chest and shook him “like he would shake a man,” Duron admitted.

Duron then stated that he put the unresponsive boy down on the living room couch and fabricated the trampoline story.

Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford has set sentencing for July 27.


Posted 6/16/2015




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