Bond reduced in child death case

2012-06-26T22:30:00Z Bond reduced in child death caseBy Bob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | A Liberty Township man charged with causing the death of his live-in girlfriend's 7-month-old son is out of jail after his bond was reduced.

Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford reduced the bond for Benjamin Willis II, 23, from $50,000 surety and $5,000 cash to $50,000 surety or cash, according to court records.

Willis posted the surety bond June 14 and is ordered to have no contact with the deceased child's mother.

Defense attorney Peter Boyles argued the reduction was needed to allow his client the opportunity to resume working.

Willis denies causing the death of Keagan Fishel, who died March 10 of blunt force trauma to the head, suffered multiple skull fractures and hemorrhages resulting from "violent and extremely forceful" action, according to court documents.

Willis is charged with Class A felony counts of neglect of a dependent and battery, Class D felony charges of battery and torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, and a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to an animal.

The animal abuse charges stem from reports from a former girlfriend and a former roommate that Willis had beaten his dog, documents state.

He is to appear again before Bradford on July 2 for a status hearing.

Willis also faces a misdemeanor intimidation charge in Lake County.

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