- Associated Press - Saturday, June 7, 2014

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - The family of a toddler killed in 2012 is voicing its opposition to a possible plea deal for a Dubuque man charged with neglecting the boy prior to his death.

About 30 family members and supporters held large, colorful signs Friday outside the Dubuque County Courthouse protesting a possible plea deal for Nicholas Reed, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1oHXxVA ) Saturday.

Last year, prosecutors dropped a first-degree murder charge against Reed, 36, in the November 2012 death of 2-year-old Bentley Randall, saying there was not enough evidence to get a conviction. A count of child neglect and two drug violation counts remain against him.

But the family was notified this week of a possible deal for Reed that would recommend up to 10 years imprisonment, said Jamie Ingles, Bentley’s great-aunt. The deal would be for 10 years in prison on the child neglect charge and two five-year sentences for the drug offenses to run at the same time as the neglect sentence, with a chance of early release, Ingles said.

“That’s not enough,” she said. “We want the maximum amount.”

Dubuque County Attorney Ralph Potter declined to comment to the newspaper Friday on the terms of a possible plea deal. Reed is scheduled to appear Thursday in Dubuque District Court.

Police have said the boy’s mother left him in Reed’s care on Nov. 23, 2012. Later that day, Reed brought Bentley into a Dubuque hospital unresponsive and severely burned. The boy died two days later.

Reed told police he found the child unresponsive and, in an effort to wake him up, started to give him a bath, not realizing the water was scalding hot.

Doctors said Bentley died of head trauma consistent with being shaken and slammed against something.

Reed’s lawyers have said the 2-year-old’s fatal injury was suffered before the child was in Reed’s care.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com

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