NJ dad in prison for beating toddler accused of newborn’s murder
WALL — A township man already in prison for violently abusing his toddler son has been indicted for the murder of his newborn daughter two years ago, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni.
Austin Meli, 24, was indicted by a Monmouth County Grand Jury on Friday for murder and endangering the welfare of a child in the death of his six-week old baby girl, Gramiccioni said.
The newborn was found unresponsive by Wall Township Police in March 2019, and was pronounced dead the same day at Ocean Medical Center in Brick.
Secret recordings made by the baby's mother had Meli talking about suffocating the newborn for a while, then trying to feed her a bottle, and when she vomited, he suffocated her again until she lost consciousness, as reported by the Asbury Park Press citing a court hearing in 2020.
In March 2020, Meli was sentenced to 10 years in state prison for violently abusing his 15-month-old son during the same incident a year prior, Gramiccioni previously announced.
Some of the abuse was captured on video surveillance cameras that Meli himself had installed in the room, according to police.
He has been at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton since that sentencing.
If convicted of murder, Meli would face a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life without parole. He could face up to another 10 years in prison on the other charge.
Anyone with information on the case can contact the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-431-7160 or Wall Township Police at 732-449-4800.
Anonymous tips also can be submitted to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers at their confidential phone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400.