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Judge rejects plea deal for Ashtabula County man accused of murdering, raping 13-month-old girl

In a statement, Judge Marianne Sezon said the court's reasoning for the rejection of the agreement in the case of Joshua Gurto will remain sealed.

ASHTABULA, Ohio — A plea agreement for accused Ashtabula County killer Joshua Gurto has been rejected by a judge. 

The 42-year-old Gurto is facing charges for the 2017 murder and rape of his girlfriend's 13-month-old daughter. 

In a statement, Judge Marianne Sezon said the court's reasoning for the rejection of the agreement will remain sealed. 

Serenity Jazzlynn-Sky Sutely was just 13 months old at the time of her murder on October 7, 2017. She died from blunt force trauma to the head, according to investigators. Gurto was captured in Pittsburgh after a national manhunt later that month.

RELATED: Mother arrested in Ashtabula County toddler's murder

A pretrial conference is set for October 26 for Gurto, with the trial scheduled to begin on October 29.

Earlier this month, Ashtabula County Prosecuting Attorney Colleen O’Toole filed a motion for a plea agreement.

In a statement to 3News, O’Toole said, “A plea agreement allows the defendant to be held accountable for the crimes and adds certainty to the outcome. There is no certainty in the outcome of a trial and no finality in the appeals process."

It is unclear what was in the plea agreement.

RELATED: Ashtabula County prosecutors seek plea agreement for Joshua Gurto, man accused of murdering, raping 13-month-old Conneaut girl

In December of 2020, Gurto was also indicted on two counts of aggravated burglary, felonies of the first degree; one count of rape, a felony of the first degree; and one count of felonious assault, a felony of the second degree. The indictment stemmed from a sexual assault cold case dating back to 2004.

"This indictment is exactly why we created the Cold Case Unit - the application of today's crime-fighting technology on old cases can lead to long-due justice," said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost when the indictment was announced. "BCI's Cold Case Unit, along with our law enforcement partners and prosecutors, are going to keep the bad guys up at night: your sins will find you out."

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