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Byron Dewayne Lang (Joplin PD)

Jury selection begins today in Jasper County for a man charged with second-degree murder for the death of a two year-old little boy he was babysitting in 2008. (UPDATE - Lang entered an Alford plea during jury selection to the little boys murder.)

On September 2nd, 2008, Byron Dewayne Lang, now 21, took two-year old Kyler DeShawn Jones to St. John’s Express Care at 1313 S. Range Line Road in Joplin unconscious and not breathing.  The little boy was pronounced dead about 15 minutes later.
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Joplin police Lt. Mike Hobson says Meagan Jones, Kyler's mother, had left him in the care of Lang and his girlfriend at their apartment a few days before his death. Sources say Jones, who pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child in July of 2008, had left the little boy in the care of the couple on prior occasions for as long as a week. Kyler's father, Terry Miller, was working out of state at the time.
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At Lang's preliminary hearing in August of 2009, Joplin police Detective Michael Gayman testified that Lang told him he noticed Kyler standing near his potty chair with blood on his mouth. The child had wet himself, Lang reportedly told the detective.
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Kyler DeShawn Jones
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Lang allegedly told Gayman that as he was cleaning the boy up his eyes rolled back in his head, he became unresponsive and stopped breathing. Lang said he made the decision to take Kyler to the urgent care clinic instead of calling 9-1-1.....and stopped for gas on the way.

Prosecutors allege that Lang was stressed out after caring for the little boy for several days and beat him to death because he wet his pants.

After investigative reports were obtained they shed light on what had to be the terror filled last moments of the child's life - allegedly taken by someone he looked to for comfort.

The first autopsy performed on Kyler in Springfield was inconclusive.  A second autopsy on the little boy by a medical examiner in Columbia revealed the little boy died from blunt force trauma to the head and abdomen and Lang was charged with murder five-and-a-half months after the boys death.

The medical examiner from Boone County, who conducted the second autopsy, testified at Lang's prelim that Kyler had 21 soft-tissue injuries to his body, including three on top of his head which cased a skull fracture and caused his brain to bleed.

The medical examiner also said blunt trauma to the toddlers abdomen caused internal bleeding and injuries to his upper chest damaged his aorta, and his lungs had filled with blood.

Lt. Hobson says investigators aren't sure if any objects other than Lang's hands and feet were used to inflict the blows the little boy suffered. He said medical examiners believe that it wasn't a single blow that caused Kyler's death. Instead, it was “a totality of all the wounds” that took his life.

In September of 2009 Lang was formally arraigned in circuit court and was released on $50,000 bond. By October, he had jumped bail and was on the run from the law.


Byron Lang and his son (photo Joplin PD)

Authorities looked for Lang for months, even issuing a news release around Christmas of 2009 asking people in the Joplin area to be on the lookout for him because they thought he might return to the area to visit his own son. 

Lang had absconded to Big Spring, Texas.  He was captured there in March of 2010 and has been held without bail (because he is considered a flight risk) since being returned to Jasper County last year.

Last month Lang turned down a plea deal that would have capped his prison sentence at 15 years.

***Meagan Jones and Terry Miller reunited and have a 1 year-old daughter, Jayvin.
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UPDATE 05-10-11 @ 12:25 p.m.:

As noted above, Lang entered an Alford plea today during jury selection.  An Alford plea is one where the defendant does not admit guilt but concedes the state has enough evidence for a likely conviction.  He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Last month Lang was charged with delivery or possession of a controlled substance in a jail and failure to appear.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Only 15 years?!?! That man should have the death penalty for what he did. Look at that smug expression...he's not sorry for what he did. This make me SICK!!

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