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Teen babysitter indicted by grand jury in death of two-year old
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The 13 year old babysitter from Whitesboro who has been accused of assaulting a two-year old in his care, leading to her death, has now been indicted by an Oneida County Grand Jury.
According to Oneida County First Assistant District Attorney Michael Coluzza, the jury indicted Alec Champagne Thursday morning on one charge of second-degree murder in connection with the June death.
Although testimony has said that Champagne sexually assaulted the toddler, Champagne is being prosecuted as a juvenile, which meant the grand jury could only indict him on a murder charge, and not additional charges.
Prosecutors say Champagne murdered two year old Melissa Calhoun while he was babysitting her in her Yorkville home the night of Friday, June 18.
One week later, Oneida County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Coluzza questioned New York State Police Investigator Chad Tangorra for over an hour during the preliminary felony hearing in Town of Floyd Court. Tangorra was the investigator who questioned Champagne for four hours on Saturday, after finding the lifeless body of Melissa Calhoun on Saturday, June 19 in an upstairs bedroom in the family's home on Ney Avenue in Yorkville.
Investigator Tangorra testified during the felony hearing as to what the 13 year old Champagne told him, both in writing and orally, which was captured on video at the Marcy State Police barracks Saturday afternoon.
Tangorra says Champagne told them that he got irritated that two year old Melissa wanted to play in the living room and he didn't, so he "popped her in the mouth," and "rage took over."
Police say that after slapping her, Champagne said he shoved Melissa, causing her to hit her head on the floor. Tangorra says Champagne told them he also hit the little girl in the kitchen with the refrigerator door, causing her to fall and hit her head, this time on the kitchen table.
Also, when the two were playing upstairs on Melissa'a mother's bed, Tangorra says Champagne told them she was holding what he described as his "wife beater," his white sleeveless tank top, but he intentionally moved back, causing her to lose her grip and thus fall again, this time hitting her head on a stand.
Finally, Tangorra said Champagne admitted he sexually assaulted Melissa with his finger 15 times, causing her to bleed.
Champagne's attorney Richard Bach questioned Investigator Tangorra as to why Alec nor his mother, who was at the barracks, were told the interview was going to recorded on video.
Despite that, in the end, Floyd Town Justice Christopher Clarkin ruled there was enough evidence to hold 13 year old Alec Champagne on second-degree murder.
Champagne's attorney, Richard Bach made an application for bail. On Friday, July 2, that bail application was denied by Oneida County Court Judge Michael Dwyer.
Now that Champagne has been indicted by a grand jury, he will be formally arraigned in Oneida County Court on Friday, July 9, 2010 in front of Judge Michael Dwyer.