NJ man could face trial for death

Pearson allegedly beat boy, 3, for wetting himself

An Irvington, N.J., man charged with killing an Altoona toddler nearly three years ago must decide soon if he will enter a guilty plea or go to trial, according to a spokesman for the Morris County, N.J., District Attorney’s Office.

The suspect in the homicide, Maurice Pearson, 31, who lived in Altoona prior to the incident in which 3-year-old Ty’Mil Andrew Solomon was beaten to death in a New Jersey motel room, made an appearance in court last week and was to decide if he would the accept a plea agreement offered by the prosecution or go to trial.

Peter DiGennaro, spokes­man for the DA’s office, said that Pearson, who has entered a not guilty plea, rejected the plea offer, a decision that could place the case back on track for trial.

He said the trial judge, Stephen H. Taylor, will meet with attorneys for the prosecution and defense this week to discuss the Pearson case further.

The defense last Thursday indicated it wanted to examine any records concerning the youngster that may be in the possession of Blair County Children, Youth & Families, the county’s child welfare agency.

That could mean a delay in the trial because of the process of obtaining records in Pennsylvania, the spokes­man said.

The case has been slowly moving through the New Jersey justice system.

Last June, a hearing was held in which Ty’Mil’s mother, Nicole Reagan of Altoona, a waitress and another former girlfriend of Pearson, testified as to the suspect’s temper and his propensity for violence.

The judge must decide if these prior “bad acts” can be admitted at trial.

Ty’Mil Solomon was the son of Willie Solomon, who was murdered at age 22 in an Altoona nightclub on Oct. 31, 2013.

Pearson was a friend of Willie Solomon, and he became close with Reagan in the months after the death.

In a story in the Altoona Mirror on April 15, 2015, just days after Ty’Mil’s death, Reagan related that during their relationship, Pearson repeatedly beat her and that for a time, she left him and moved to Atlanta.

However, she said, when she would leave him, he would draw her back with apologies and promises of a better life.

They went to New Jersey to begin a new life, she said, but while in a Knight’s Inn in Montville, N.J., on April 10, 2015, Pearson began beating the child with a belt after Ty’Mil wet himself while eating a sandwich for lunch.

The beating led to the boy’s death, it is charged.

Pearson is denying responsibility for the youngster’s death.

A funeral was held in Altoona for Ty’Mil on April 18, 2015, at the church that he attended, Mother Gethsem­ane Church of God in Christ, where he was known as “the little deacon” for his love of church services and where he played the tambourine.

Pearson’s attorney in the Morris County Public Defender’s Office could not be reached for comment.

Phil Ray can be reached at pray@altoonamirror.com.