MYERSTOWN, Pa. — A Pennsylvania couple has waived their right to a preliminary hearing on charges they tied and weighting down a mattress on top of their son’s crib so he couldn’t climb out, leading him to suffocate.

Thursday’s waiver means 29-year-old Justin Dwyer and 28-year-old Courtney Stash must now stand trial or enter a plea deal on involuntary manslaughter and other counts in the April death of their 2-year-old son.

Detectives say the Myerstown couple put two 50-pound bags of rock salt on the mattress and secured it with bungee cords to keep the boy — one of triplets — from climbing out of the crib.

Police say the boy suffocated when his head got caught between the crib and overlying mattress, but that the couple didn’t report that when they called 911 to say they found the boy unresponsive. Rather, their 8-year-old son later told police how the couple had secured the crib.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.