Montco man pleads guilty in infant daughter's death

Posted: June 18, 2014

The father cried Monday for his daughter, who was alive for just two months.

He cried because she was forever gone. He cried because he was the reason she died.

Edward J. Doyle, 30, spoke in Montgomery County Court after pleading guilty to third-degree murder on the day he was set to go on trial.

Doyle apologized to his wife, to relatives, and to his 2-month-old daughter, Makayla, for his actions and his inertia that led to her death in February 2013.

"I would trade places with you," he said. "I'm so sorry, baby."

The former pizza shop employee told investigators that he was drinking on the night of Feb. 24, 2013, when he returned to the Hatboro apartment he shared with his wife, Nicole Lavelle, and their two daughters, including Makayla. At some point in the early morning, court documents say, the baby started crying as she sat in her swing, so he picked her up to soothe her.

As he held her in his arms, the 6-foot-1 Doyle, who then weighed about 275 pounds, fell to the floor with the baby landing under him.

Assistant District Attorney Alec O'Neill said Doyle gave police different versions of events during questioning. But there was no confusion over what happened next and didn't happen.

Doyle, according to his account, put her back in the swing and went to sleep.

When he woke up hours later, Makayla was unresponsive and 911 was called. The Montgomery County Coroner's Office said she died from multiple traumatic injuries.

"He's responsible for [her death] at the end of the day, and that's what he admitted to," O'Neill said after the hearing.

Sentencing will be in about 90 days.

"This is a tragic, horrible event," said defense lawyer Robert P. Hoopes. "In his mind, the sentence is he lost his child for the rest of his life."

In the courtroom Monday were Doyle's wife and her family.

They were far outnumbered by Doyle's friends and family members. More than a dozen of them, including his father and grandmother, stood and told Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy that he was a good man and a great father. No parent is perfect, said one supporter. It's still unbelievable that he could have done this, said another.

As sheriff's deputies led Doyle away, many of his supporters yelled, "I love you, Eddie."

Lavelle, who has filed for divorce from Doyle, said later that the comments about her husband were hard to take because they were all about him.

"They're grieving the loss of someone that's alive," she said. "I'm grieving the loss of someone that was taken from me."



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