Guilty plea entered in abuse death of toddler in Thurmont

(AP) A Frederick County man is acknowledging he fatally abused a 2-year-old boy with punishments that included beating and kicking the toddler and cleaning his teeth with a wire brush. The Frederick News-Post reported that 40-year-old Raymond Matthew Brittle of Thurmont pleaded guilty Thursday to first- and second-degree child abuse resulting in the September 2013 death of Robert Watkins. Robert’s mother had put the toddler in Brittle’s care six months before his death. She considered Brittle the child’s step-grandfather. Brittle faces up to 55 years in prison at his sentencing in February. Brittle’s wife, 37-year-old Melissa Brittle, pleaded guilty last week to first-degree child abuse resulting in death, a charge that prosecutors say stems from failing to protect the boy. She faces up to 20 years in prison.

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