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Parents Plead Guilty to Charges in Child’s Death

By Staff | Jan 25, 2017

NEW MARTINSVILLE – A man and a woman pleaded guilty recently to charges arising from an incident that resulted in the death of their 2-year-old son.

Ezra Aberegg, 29, of Pine Grove, and Hope Morgan, 25, of Burton, were charged with child neglect resulting in injury and child neglect resulting in death of a minor in relation to an incident that occurred in July 2014.

During a hearing Friday in Circuit Court, the couple pleaded guilty and were sentenced by Circuit Court Judge David Hummel Jr.

“I’m happy that they pleaded guilty because they are guilty,” Tyler County Prosecutor Luke Furbee said. “We believe that the sentence is fair based on the evidence in the case. These were not intentional acts, but they did commit criminally negligent acts that ended up in a tragic result.”

Aberegg and Morgan each were sentenced to not less than three years nor more than 15 years in prison for the charge of child neglect resulting in death and thee years each for the charge of child neglect resulting in injury. Furbee said their sentences are to be served concurrently.

The State Fire Marshal and the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department conducted the investigation into the death of two-year old Ethan Kane Aberegg.

Tyler County Sheriff’s office said in news release issued July 14, 2014 that Tyler 911 received a call around 1:05 a.m. of a camper fire with the child trapped inside on Big Run Road near Alma.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene along with fire units from Middlebourne and Shirley volunteer fire departments. Alma EMS also responded to the scene.

Upon arrival, the camper was fully engulfed and witnesses told responders there was a child still in the camper. A child’s body was found in the burned rubble, according to the sheriff’s department’s release after the fire.

Furbee said instead of going to trial on Monday in Circuit Court in Tyler County, the couple decided late last week to plead guilty. Hummel was holding court on Friday in Wetzel County, so the plea hearing took place there.