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Whitesboro 8th grader pleads "Not Guilty" to second degree murder

By By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The 8th grader who is accused of sexually assaulting and causing the death of a two year-old girl he was babysitting, pleaded not guilty to the charge of second degree murder in Oneida County Court Friday morning.

Alex Champagne who turned 14 on July 4th is an 8th grader from Whitesboro. Prosecutors say he was babysitting two year old Melissa Calhoun and her one year old brother in the Calhoun home in Yorkville the night of June 18th.

Champagne had previously babysat for the Calhouns' several times in the past. Melissa's mother was actually in court for the first time in this case, for Champagne's arraignment Friday morning. An Oneida County Grand Jury indicted Champagne on Thursday.

Prosecutors say Champagne admitted to state police investigators that he sexually assaulted Melissa repeatedly on the night of June 18th, and they say he also admitted he caused Melissa to fall three different times, each time causing her to hit her head.

A State Police Investigator testified during Champagne's preliminary felony hearing two weeks ago, that Champagne admitted he hit Melissa in the face in the living room, causing her to fall and hit her head on the floor. The investigator also testified Champagne admitted to hitting Melissa in the head with the refrigerator door, causing her to fall and hit her head on a table, and finally as the two were playing on Melissa's mom's bed, he let go of Melissa on purpose, causing her to fall and hit her head on a night stand.

An autopsy showed Melissa died of blunt force trauma.

Prosecutors introduced the statements they say Champagne made to State Police investigators on Saturday, June 19th into evidence, so they can be used at trial. There were oral statements he made inside of a police car outside the Yorkville home. There were two separate written statements he made after being brought back to the State Police barracks in Marcy, and a three hour long interview recorded on videotape.

If convicted of second degree murder, Champagne faces a minimum of five years to life, and a maximum of nine years to life. He is due back in Oneida County Court for a hearing on August 6th.

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