GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A 25-year-old western Michigan man has been ordered to stand trial in the beating death of his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son.
A Grand Rapids judge found enough evidence Tuesday to order trial for Elis Nelson Ortiz-Nieves. He’s charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse in the June death of Giovanni Mejias in Gaines Township.
Medical examiner Dr. David Start testified the injuries to the boy were “remarkable.” An autopsy determined Giovanni died of blunt force trauma to his abdomen. Several older injuries also were found.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Kortes says nothing ties Ortiz-Nieves to the criminal allegations and suggested others could be responsible.
Six other children under the age of 11 were removed from the home. Authorities say Ortiz-Nieves cared for the children while his girlfriend worked.