Illinois Man Found Guilty Of Murdering 2-Year-Old

| by Nathaly Pesantez

A man from Eklville, Illinois, was found guilty of first-degree murder after an April 2012 incident that led to a 2-year-old’s death. 

Jarrod Rudder, 27, was convicted by a Jackson County jury on June 23 less than two hours after all evidence was presented at the trial, reported The Southern Illinoisan. 

The victim, Michael Pulliam, died on April 22, 2012 after sustaining a brain injury while under Rudder's care. 

On April 21, 2012, Rudder was babysitting Michael in a home shared with the toddler’s mother, Amanda Howell, who was at work during the incident. 

After calling 911, paramedics found the child unconscious and unresponsive, reported The Huffington Post. Rudder then admitted to Jackson County police he threw the child into a wall, but claimed the death was an accident. 

Michael was also found to have a least half a dozen fractured ribs and a wrist injury. Investigators were told by the St. Louis Children’s Hospital the injuries were indicators of child abuse. 

Kelly Zuber, Rudder’s lawyer, argued the incident was an accident, adding an involuntary manslaughter charge for the jury to deliberate over instead of a murder charge. 

Casey Bloodworth, assistant state’s attorney and prosecutor on the case, argued that Rudder was well aware of his actions towards the child. 

“This is not accidental, and this is not just a reckless incident,” Bloodworth said. “This is him hurting that child, and knowing he is hurting that child.”

Rudder possibly faces 20 to 60 years in prison for his first-degree murder charger. A sentence hearing is scheduled for Aug. 18. 

Sources: The Southern Illinoisan, The Huffington Post
Photo Credit: Jackson County Sheriff Department via The Southern Illinoisan