The 37-year-old Knox man who allegedly killed 11-month-old Mercedes Lain in August plead guilty to the murder charges in Starke Circuit Court Monday afternoon.

Judge Kim Hall took the plea under advisement and explained that the plea deal provides no leniency.  Miller would receive the same punishment by pleading guilty as if he were convicted at trial, 45 to 65 years.

During the hearing Justin Miller detailed the incident telling the judge he was living in Mishawaka with his girlfriend and agreed to babysit the child of his long-time father’s friend.

Miller was in an argument with his girlfriend on August 14th who wanted to go to a festival.  He said Mercedes began to react to the fighting and he backhanded her in the face trying to keep her quiet.  Her head hit the wall from the impact.  He said he smacked the baby a second time and she went down. After he slept, he checked on Mercedes, and she wasn’t moving.   He drove her body to Starke County, wrapped her in a pink blanket and buried her.

In court Miller admitted to being high on synthetic marijuana at the time of the incident but said he knew what he was doing.          

Sentencing for Justin Miller has been set for January 18 in Starke County Circuit Court.