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Man accepts plea deal in tot's death

| Tuesday, April 6, 2004

An East Hills man pleaded guilty in Allegheny County court Monday to involuntary manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter in 2002.

As part of a plea deal, Donald Williams, 22, agreed to testify against Tia Banks, 21, of Penn Hills, at her homicide trial in the death of her daughter, Atia.

Assistant District Attorney Laura Ditka dropped charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangering and endangering the welfare of a child against Williams in return for his plea before Common Pleas Judge Kathleen A. Durkin.

Williams and Banks were originally charged with homicide. Ditka declined comment on why she offered the plea agreement to Williams while prosecuting Banks for homicide.

Atia was taken to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in Oakland on Dec. 16, 2002, after becoming lethargic and listless, her second hospitalization for the symptoms that month. She died six days later.

The Coroner's Office ruled the girl died of blunt force trauma to the head. Examiners found recent and older head injuries they said were too severe to have been caused by normal childhood accidents.

Banks' trial before Durkin is scheduled for May 24.

Williams, who made no comment during his guilty plea, faces up to 10 years in prison at his June 9 sentencing.

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