Elijah Ulrich should be a teenager. He should be less than a year from getting his learner’s permit and maybe already working and earning money toward his first car. He should be dating and hanging with buds and feeling as awkward and neurotic and excited and hopeful as any other teen.

Instead, he was killed when he was 3 years old.

He was killed by Charles Kane. Elijah’s parents trusted Kane, then in his mid-30s, to babysit their child because mutual friends knew him and vouched for him and he babysat other kids in the area. He was even a godfather to several children of couples Elijah’s parents knew.

The day it happened he was watching Elijah in the Ulriches' North Wildwood home. Kane became outraged that the boy wet his pants and threw him hard enough into the family’s refrigerator that it caused injuries to the child’s skull. He was hospitalized at Cooper University Medical Center in Camden. That was on Feb. 25, 2010. On March 17, just shy of three weeks later, Elijah died from his injuries.

His case was allowed to be plea-bargained, which outraged me and I wrote about this 10 years ago when Charles Kane was sentenced. He was indicted on murder charges but was allowed to plead to a manslaughter charge for what certainly feels more like cold-blooded homicide.

Even though he was sentenced to 15 years in prison he’s already been released. Why?


He was released to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in prisons. Even though we’ve been told violent criminals like murderers would not be eligible for early COVID release and even though that’s exactly what he was indicted for, because he was allowed to plea bargain to aggravated manslaughter he got to go home.

Elijah’s parents are furious. They’ve demanded answers. The Department of Corrections simply, and coldly, told them he “meets the requirements.”

Perhaps. But certainly not the spirit of those requirements.

He wasn’t sentenced to enough years to start with. The death of a little boy should not result in a plea bargain. He was only going to have to serve 85% of his sentence, already cutting years off the 15.

Now this.


For a guy whose reaction to killing Elijah was, “I didn’t think I threw him THAT hard.”

The Murphy administration and the policymakers behind these early prison releases over COVID-19 should be ashamed of themselves. It’s bad policy to begin with. To apply it to someone who took the life of a child is morally bankrupt.

Charles Kane ended up serving only about 10 years. So you tell me. Is that enough for taking Elijah’s life? Ten years?

The only one to whom ten years might seem like a lot of years is Elijah. Since he didn’t even make it to see four.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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