NJ man found guilty of brutal hotel beating death of girlfriend’s 3-year-old son
A jury has found a 29-year-old Morris County man guilty on all charges, stemming from the beating death of his girlfriend’s three year-old son.
Edwin Urbina, formerly of Morristown, was convicted of first-degree murder with an aggravating factor after a seven-day trial, Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll announced on Wednesday.
Urbina, who turned down a plea deal that would have put him in prison for 50 years, now faces up to life in prison when sentenced in two weeks.
He was also found guilty of three counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, third-degree hindering apprehension or prosecution, two counts of third-degree tampering with a witness and fourth-degree tampering with evidence.
🔴2019 deadly attack on toddler at East Hanover hotel
Morristown police were called to Morristown Medical Center shortly after 5 a.m. on Aug. 13, 2021, on a report of a three-year-old boy in cardiac arrest.
Doctors found that the young child had suffered a number of physical injuries and an autopsy ruled the death as a homicide.
Investigators found that Urbina had badly beaten the child, several hours earlier, at the OYO Hotel along Route 10 West in East Hanover.
A five-year-old sibling had witnessed the attack, as confirmed in the courtroom and in a GoFundMe setup for funeral expenses for the victim, identified as Liam.
🔴 Mother moved to protect Urbina, before seeking help for lifeless son
The children’s mother, Krystal Straw, arrived at the hotel shortly after the brutal beating, after finishing up a work shift, according to courtroom testimony.
Her first actions were to pack up Urbina from the hotel, delete messages and cell phone content and drop him at another location, before bringing her son’s lifeless body to a hospital, prosecutors said.
She also instructed her surviving child not to speak of the incident to police.
Investigation also revealed that Urbina had physically abused the victim before the deadly attack.
Straw was arrested the day of her son’s death, while Urbina was taken into custody four days later, outside the Morris County Records and Administration Building.
On Jan. 12, the 29-year-old Straw pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree endangering welfare of a child, three counts of third-degree hindering apprehension, third-degree tampering with a witness and fourth-degree tampering with physical evidence.
Her sentencing hearing has been set for the same day as Urbina’s —March 16.
Both Urbina and Straw have remained in Morris County Jail during their criminal cases.
Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at email@example.com
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