Preston Nelson, accused in death of 20-month-old boy, chooses not to accept plea deal

MILWAUKEE COUNTY -- FOX6 News has learned there will be no plea deal for 25-year-old Preston Nelson, charged with first degree reckless homicide in connection with the death of a 20-month-old boy.

Preston Nelson

In court on Monday, August 24th, Nelson chose not to accept a plea deal being offered to him. But his attorney says that deal is still being offered to him. The judge allowed both sides another month to possibly reach an agreement.

FOX6 News spoke with 20-month-old Kayden's mother, Angelica Burkett on Saturday -- ahead of Monday's court hearing. The family was not happy to learn Nelson was being offered a plea deal in this case.

“I would rather him go to trial and a jury find him guilty,” Burkett said. "He shouldn’t be able to walk around here free, while I die inside."

Kayden died in January, after he was placed in Nelson's care by his mother, along with her two other children, while she went to work.

"I left them in someone's care, whom I trusted. My son was in perfect health when I left him there and I expected him to be that way when I got home and he was not,” said Angelica Burkett.

20-month-old Kayden

Kayden had been badly beaten. He died at the hospital.

A criminal complaint filed against Preston Nelson says Kayden's mother asked Nelson to watch her three children while she worked -- on January 2nd. This, after a friend who was supposed to watch the children informed the children's mother that she was sick. Nelson began watching the children around 11:00 a.m., and the child's mother told police around 5:00 p.m. she received a phone call from Nelson -- reporting Kayden wasn't breathing and appeared to be having a seizure.

Kayden's mother told police she asked Nelson to call 911, and raced home.

When she got home, the complaint indicates Kayden's mother asked Nelson what happened, and he said "I didn't touch him."

Police spoke with Nelson, who told them he agreed to watch the children while their mother worked. The complaint indicates Nelson's infant son was also at the residence. Nelson told police that during the course of the day, he had the children lay down while he did some housework.

The complaint says Nelson told police he checked on the children, and found Kayden gasping for air and seizing. Nelson told police he called the children's mother, and then called 911.

Rescue officials with the Milwaukee Fire Department found Kayden without a pulse and moved him to an ambulance, where first responders were able to re-establish a pulse. As the baby boy was being transferred to the hospital, the pulse was lost -- and resuscitation efforts began again.

Upon arrival at Children's Hospital, the complaint indicates Kayden was admitted to the ICU.

The complaint indicates Kayden's injuries were determined to be consistent with physical abuse.

Preston Nelson was then taken into custody by Milwaukee police.

Police interviewed Nelson, and the complaint indicates he initially denied harming Kayden in any way. When police described the child's injuries to Nelson, the complaint indicates Nelson said: "I am pretty sure I did shake him" -- saying that he did so in a "playful" manner.

Police then described abrasions and bruises to the child's forehead, chin and chest. The complaint says Nelson admitted to hitting the child "one time" -- saying he hit the child in the back of the head, and the child lost his balance -- falling down and striking his head on the kitchen floor.

Police asked Nelson about a bruise found on Kayden's chest, and Nelson admitted to pushing the child in the chest, causing him to fall to the ground, according to the complaint.

When asked if there was anything else police needed to know, Nelson told them: "I pushed him in the chest, I hit him in the head, and I shook him in the room," according to the complaint.

Police interviewed Nelson a second time, and the complaint indicates Nelson told police he saw Kayden push his infant son down. Nelson told police he responded by going over to Kayden and striking Kayden in the head with a closed fist, and then striking him in the back of the head twice with an open hand. Nelson then admitted to striking Kayden with a backhand motion in the chest with enough force to cause him to fly backwards and fall to the floor.

When the boy got up, the complaint indicates Nelson told police he struck the boy in the back of the head with an open hand. Kayden fell to the floor, and his head hit the floor.

A short time later, Nelson told police he was "playing" with Kayden -- picking him up and shaking him -- first side to side, and then front to back. Nelson told police he also threw the child into the air and then caught him, according to the complaint.

Nelson told police he left Kayden on a bed, because he appeared to be going to sleep. A short time later, the complaint indicates Nelson checked on Kayden and noticed he was having a seizure.

A doctor at the hospital determined Kayden had suffered inflicted trauma, and "severe child physical abuse," including "massive abusive head trauma" and injury to the brain.

Kayden was removed from life support and pronounced dead on January 12th after a second examination determined him to be brain dead.

A Medical Examiner determined Kayden died as a result of complications from blunt force trauma to the head. His death was ruled a homicide.

Preston Nelson's next court appearance is set for September 22nd.