Crime

Baby’s skull fractured; mother pleads guilty to murder

A St. Louis woman has pleaded guilty to causing the death of her infant son by slamming him to the floor in Alton four years ago.

Wallisha Bland, 23, of St. Louis pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of first-degree murder only days before she was to go to trial in Madison County for the death of her son, Jace Gillespie.

Alton Police were called to an apartment on Belle Street on the morning of Oct. 4, 2012, when Jace — not quite two months old — was found unresponsive. He was taken to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Alton, where he was pronounced dead at 10:02 a.m.

The autopsy showed that Jace died of a skull fracture. Police believe that the night before, Bland threw her baby down on the floor, causing the skull fracture that killed him.

Bland faces 20 to 60 years in prison, and prosecutor Crystal Uhe plans to ask for 40 years, of which Bland will be required to serve 100 percent.

Bland will remain in custody at the Madison County Jail pending sentencing before Madison County Circuit Judge Kyle Napp.

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald

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