NJ Dad in Prison for Beating Baby Boy Also Admits Killing Newborn Girl
WALL — A township man already in prison for abusing his baby son has admitted to killing his newborn daughter in the same incident nearly three years ago.
Austin Meli, 23, pleaded guilty on Thursday to first-degree aggravated manslaughter in the death of his six-week-old baby girl.
The newborn was found unresponsive by township police in March 2019 and was pronounced dead the same day at Ocean Medical Center in Brick.
In the attack on his 15-month-old son, Meli was sentenced to 10 years in state prison in March 2020 for aggravated assault and child endangerment.
He now faces another 30 years in prison, as the state will recommend that his new sentence run consecutive to his current term — meaning he would serve them back-to-back.
Some of the abuse was captured on video surveillance cameras that Meli himself had installed in the room, according to police.
Secret recordings made by the baby's mother had Meli talking about suffocating the newborn for a while, then trying to feed her a bottle, and when she vomited, he suffocated her again until she lost consciousness, as reported previously by the Asbury Park Press citing a court hearing in 2020.
Both sentences are subject to an 85% period of parole ineligibility under the No Early Release Act.
Meli has been at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton since 2020.