Saunders pleads guilty to manslaughter in toddler death

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Reporter - Robert Bradfield
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

Editor's note: updated with new information and new video

PADUCAH — Ronald Saunders will continue wearing an orange jumpsuit after accepting a 10-year prison term for the death of 2-year-old Connor Bacchus.

"When you're looking a life in prison, it's certainly a gamble when you go to trial. With this agreement, he has some certainty," said his defense attorney Dave Bundrick.

That certainty, according to Bundrick, is knowing Saunders won't spend his life in prison, a possible outcome if Saunders had gone to trial again. Bundrick said the likelihood of getting a not guilty verdict would be slim.

"In this particular case, being such an emotional case, dealing with the death of a toddler, thought it would be hard to get all 12 people to be willing to go that way," Bundrick said.

Although Saunders pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter, Bundrick said Saunders denies any wrongdoing.

"We felt like this was a fair resolution to the case," said Dan Boaz, the commonwealth attorney.

While he helped negotiate the deal, Boaz said he would have liked a conviction.

"I don't think you're ever pleased in these situations where you have a death involved," he said.

Both attorneys said they also struck a deal so Connor's family won't have to sit through another emotional trial.

"The family may have closure but they'll always have to live with the fact little Connor isn't with them anymore," Boaz said.

 

Saunders' sentencing is scheduled for May 11.

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