By Melinda Miller


The Marilla teenager charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of a toddler has rejected a plea offer and wants a new attorney.

Devon M. Vanderwege, 17, is accused of inflicting fatal injuries on Ethan Bigham, 2, when Vanderwege was living in the same trailer home as the boy and Ethan’s mother, her three other children and three other adults. Ethan suffered severe head trauma and died March 14, four days after he was taken to Women & Children’s Hospital.

Prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable on Tuesday told Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk that efforts to resolve the case without going to trial – possibly with a manslaughter plea – had broken down. Defense attorney John Gilmour said that Vanderwege consulted with his mother about the plea and after that refused to talk to him.

Vanderwege told the judge Tuesday that he wanted two or three months to hire a different attorney. The judge gave him one month. Vanderwege’s next court date is Nov. 3.

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One Child Is Too Many

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