Morris County mother, boyfriend sentenced in death of 3-year-old boy
MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – A Morris County mother and her boyfriend have been sentenced in connection with the beating death of her three-year-old son.
Judge Taylor imposed sentences for Edwin Urbina, 29, formerly of Morristown and Krystal Straw, 29, on March 16 during separate court proceedings, Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll said.
Urbina was sentenced to an aggregate sentence of Life imprisonment without eligibility for parole plus 20 years subject to 10 years parole ineligibility. The sentence shall be served in a maximum security prison, Carroll said.
Straw was sentenced to an aggregate sentence of 18 years imprisonment subject to five years parole ineligibility, Carroll said.
On January 12, 2023, Straw appeared before the Honorable Stephen J. Taylor, P.J.Cr. and entered an open plea of 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, Carroll said.
Then on March 1, 2023, a jury returned a guilty verdict for Urbina following a seven-day trial. He was found guilty of first-degree murder with an aggravating factor, 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, Carroll said.
On August 13, 2021, shortly after 5:00 a.m., police responded to the Morristown Medical Center in Morristown on a report of a three-year-old boy in cardiac arrest. A subsequent investigation revealed that the child had sustained a number of physical injuries, Carroll said.
Following an autopsy, Morris County Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Carlos Fonseca, M.D. determined the manner of death to be homicide, Carroll said.
The investigation revealed that Urbina fatally beat the child in the early morning hours of August 13, 2021, resulting in the boy’s death, while at the OYO Hotel, 130 Route 10 West in East Hanover Township. The investigation further revealed that the murder was witnessed by the victim’s five-year-old sibling, Carroll said.
A further investigation revealed that the victim’s mother, Straw, was not present during the assault, but arrived at the hotel shortly thereafter. Following the victim’s death, Urbina and Straw engaged in conduct to hinder the State’s investigation including removing Urbina and his personal belongings from the OYO Hotel, deleting cell phone content, and informing the victim’s five-year-old sibling not to speak about the incident, Carroll said.
The investigation also revealed that Urbina had physically abused the victim on prior occasions, Carroll said.
On August 17, 2021, Urbina was taken into custody without incident outside the Morris County Records and Administration Building in Morristown, New Jersey. Straw had previously been charged and arrested on August 13, 2021, in connection with this incident. Both Urbina and Straw remained in the Morris County Correctional Facility during the pendency of their criminal cases, Carroll said.
“These sentencings bring to a close this terrible and tragic crime. Justice has finally been done for little 3 year old Liam,” Carroll said.