SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 28, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Grandmother Angela McCalmant is shocked and hurt at the plea given to former son-in-law Codey Jolley, who originally was charged with first-degree felony murder in the death of her daughter’s toddler, 17-month-old Ethan Antes.
Jolley on Friday pleaded guilty to reduced charges of one count each of child abuse homicide and child abuse. Each comes with a possible sentence of one to 15 years in jail. It has yet to be determined if sentences will run consecutively (two to 30 years) or concurrently (one to 15).
“The court system letting this plea deal go through is an insult to Ethan, any kid who has ever been abused, our family, and anyone who knew Ethan,” McCalmant said in requested comments sent exclusively to Gephardt Daily.
“We know that nothing they can do to him (Jolley) can ever stop the pain of what he did to our family. But a slap on the wrist is not OK. Child crimes need to be considered the most heinous and be prosecuted that way.
“What if it was your child or grandchild? Would you be OK with all of this?”
McCalmant, buoyed by family and supporters from the 2,556-member Facebook page Justice for Ethan Jay Antes, was prepared to attend Jolley’s scheduled court date on Monday and to present a petition with more than 1,800 signatures asking the judge to cancel the plea deal.
“We were told less than 24 hours before they were having court Friday, and many of us couldn’t be there,” McCalmant said in her email.
She is also angry that the plea seems to disregard established facts in the case.
“His admission of guilt was all contradictory to what the medical examiner found, we were told he had to be truthful for the plea to go through, yet they still let him lie and they accepted the plea,” McCalmant stated.
According to plea documents, Jolley, 28, admitted to leaving Ethan in the bathtub for an extended period of time on April 29 of this year. Jolley admitted to returning to find the boy face down in a foot of water.
Jolley claimed he attempted CPR, but his efforts instead kept the child from breathing, documents said.
Original charging documents said the doctors who treated Ethan indicated that they didn’t believe he died in the tub, but “as part of an ongoing pattern of child abuse or inflicted injuries caused by another person.”
When Jolley called 911, he would not give dispatchers a street address for his apartment, and then initially gave officials the wrong apartment number, according to the charges. When emergency crews eventually found the right apartment, they found Jolley sitting on a bed and Ethan lying in a hallway.
Medical crews worked on Ethan for 40 minutes before getting a faint pulse. His heartbeat stopped again on the way to Primary Children’s Hospital, and Ethan’s remaining hours were spent on life support. He died on May 1.
Medical personnel who treated Ethan on scene said the child and the tub were both dry when they arrived. The shower-tub combination was found to be on the shower setting. Ethan’s mother and Jolleys’ wife of about six weeks had showered hours earlier, before she left for work.
Doctors who treated Ethan at the hospital also questioned Jolley’s account, according to charging documents.
“(Ethan) was essentially dead when the first responders arrived, which means that there was some event that caused a sudden and massive collapse,” charging documents state.
“Dr. (Antoinette) Laskey said that it would be highly unlikely for a 17-month-old baby to suddenly die and that (Ethan) should have been revivable and not in such dire condition if he was only under water for 15 to 20 seconds.”
Dr. Erik Christensen, assistant Utah medical examiner, performed Ethan’s autopsy on May 2. Christensen noted lacerations to Ethan’s eyelid, arms and legs; partially healed ripping of the flap between the teeth and gums on the top and bottom of the child’s mouth; bruising to Ethan’s forehead, face, jaw and neck; and swelling of the brain.
According to charging documents, doctors have said that Ethan’s injuries were consistent with strangulation.
Jolley’s sentencing on the two second-degree felony charges is scheduled for Oct. 11.
Here are McCalmant’s comments in full:
The court system letting this plea deal go though is an insult to Ethan, any kid who has ever been abused, our family, and anyone who knew Ethan.
I feel we were bullied and misled by the DA’s office then ignored when we had time to think about the plea and decide we didn’t want it, why wasn’t he tried under Shelbys law?
If we were more prominent in society, had money or fame they would have fought for real justice not just try to sweep us under the rug. We started a petition and had over 1800 signatures pleading the courts to pull the deal and had supporters planning on being there on Monday.
We were told less than 24 hours before they were having court Friday and many of us couldn’t be there. His admission of guilt was all contradictory to what the medical examiner found, we were told he had to be truthful for the plea to go through, yet they still let him lie and they accepted the plea.
We know that nothing they can do to him (Jolley) can ever stop the pain of what he did to our family. But a slap on the wrist is not ok, child crimes need to be considered the most heinous and be prosecuted that way. What if it was your child or grandchild? Would you be OK with all of this?