ShareThis Page

Philadelphia woman who beat son to death denied shorter prison sentence

| Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, 7:24 p.m.
Jillian Tait
Jillian Tait

HARRISBURG — A woman who beat her 3-year-old son to death with “blunt and sharp objects” in a mobile home in Philadelphia almost four years ago was denied a prison sentence reduction.

A state Superior Court panel ruled Jillian Tait got enough of a break in the sentence imposed under a third-degree murder plea agreement, reported. She was seeking a reduction of 52 years off her 94-year prison sentence for the November 2014 death of her son, Scott McMillan.

Tait, 34, also pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and possessing an instrument of crime in her son’s death. Her ex-boyfriend, Gary Lee Fellenbaum III, was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 to 20 years.

Authorities said spankings of the boy escalated and he was “punched and beaten with blunt and sharp objects, whipped, taped to a chair with electrical tape and beaten, hung up by his feet.” Prosecutors said Tait and the ex-boyfriend went car shopping, bought pizza and engaged in sexual activity as the boy lay dying.

Tait argued her sentence was excessive and she wasn’t credited sufficiently for cooperating with investigators. She cited a rough childhood and mental health problems. She also claimed she wasn’t the main attacker and had been manipulated by her former boyfriend.

Senior Judge William Platt said she hadn’t denied involvement in the beatings, including hitting her son with a wooden spoon, a frying pan and apparently a curtain rod. And rather than doing anything to stop her former boyfriend, “she actively assisted him,” Platt said.

Platt also cited the trial judge’s statements that he couldn’t imagine a scenario “more horrific” that “tugged at the fabric of our entire society,” and said the appeals court agreed.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me