Man pleads guilty in 2-year-old’s death, faces up to 12 years in prison

Johnathan Pursglove charged with aggravated manslaughter

Johnathan Pursglove and Victoria Toth.
Johnathan Pursglove and Victoria Toth.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The man accused in the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son pleaded guilty Tuesday and will serve up to 12 years in prison after accepting a plea agreement with the state.

Johnathan Pursglove and the victim’s mother, Victoria Toth, were charged with aggravated manslaughter in Orange County after Toth’s son, Jayce Martin, was found unresponsive on his bedroom floor in July 2018.

Toth accepted a plea deal in February with sentencing scheduled for a later time. She now faces a second-degree felony charge of aggravated child neglect, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

If convicted during a jury trial, Pursglove would have faced up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Under the terms of the agreement with the state, Pursglove pleaded guilty and will serve a maximum of 12 years.

[MORE COVERAGE | Doctor: Abused 2-year-old boy suffered greatly before his death, could have been saved | Orlando woman charged in death of toddler, police say]

On the day paramedics responded to the Orlando apartment in 2018, 2-year-old Jayce was covered in bruises and medical examiners believe he was possibly tortured before his death, according to the arrest affidavit.

Medical examiner Dr. Marie Hansen wrote that Jayce died after blunt force trauma to his stomach created a hole in his intestines to form, which caused an infection known as peritonitis. Hansen said Jayce’s case was very severe and the injury could have been caused by a “sucker punch.”

The medical examiner also noted that had Toth sought medical care for her son, he could have made a full recovery.

Orange County Judge Mark Belchman oversaw the plea hearing Tuesday and asked Pursglove if he read and understood the deal before agreeing to accept it.

Pursglove will be sentenced May 11 during another hearing. Both the state and defense will be able to call witnesses and experts during the sentencing.

Check back for updates on this developing story.