- Associated Press - Friday, September 29, 2017

JACKSBORO, Tenn. (AP) - A Tennessee man has struck a deal to plead guilty to a reduced charge in the 2014 death of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.

News outlets report Joshua Adam Comer pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and two counts of child abuse Wednesday and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. As part of the plea deal, Comer admitted he punched Gabriella Orton in the stomach on June 10, 2014, following to earlier incidents of abuse.

District Attorney Jared Effler said an autopsy showed the punch was fatal.

The child’s mother, Amber Leann Orton, has been charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect. Her case remains pending.

Effler said in a release following the plea that the prosecution’s case against Comer encountered several problems, including the death of a key witness.

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