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Story Conner Bachuss was tortured
and murdered by his mother's boyfriend
In The 2nd Degree
Min/ Max Sentence:
Next Parole Hearing:
A Fateful Morning
On the morning of December
5, 2010 two-year-old Conner Bachuss woke up and wanted his
mommy. Connor's older sister brought him into his mother's
room. Ms. Bachuss was suffering from a kidney stone that resulted
in severe bouts of pain and she had finally fallen asleep.
Ronald Saunders, Ms. Bachuss' boyfriend, told Conner's sister
that her mother was sick and to let her sleep. Saunders then
took Conner to the living room. A few hours later Ms. Bachuss
woke up and was feeling better. She planned on making breakfast
and taking the children to church. Saunders came into her room
and asked her if Conner had fallen the previous night. Ms.
Bacchus told him "No" and Saunders left the room.
Within a few minutes Saunders came back in the room carrying
Conner's lifeless body.
Conner's mother immediately
knew something was wrong. She started screaming for Saunders
to help Conner. She then called 911. By this time the other
children were in the bedroom and started crying and screaming.
Ms. Bachuss told them to get their coats and shoes on and go
to the living room. She then called the children's great aunt
and uncle to pick up so the children so they would not have
to see what was happening. When Ms. Bachuss came back into
the room Saunders had moved Conner to the bathroom floor and
Conner was turning blue. Ms. Bachuss called 911 again and begged
them to hurry. The ambulance arrived minutes later and took
Conner to the hospital.
After Conner arrived at
the hospital doctors found multiple injuries including bruising
on his face and neck, internal bleeding, severe brain damage
and two large bruises on his back. He also had 114 small puncture
wounds and doctors also removed a thumbtack from the top of
Conner's stomach. Conner fought to live for five days and his
family kept a vigil by his bedside. After and MRI was done
doctor's told Conner's mother that he was brain dead and asked
her permission to pull Conner off life support. Conner's mother
did not want him to suffer any longer and agreed. She asked
to continue life support for one more day so the rest of Conner's
family could come and say goodbye. Conner's mother stayed up
all night with Conner and hoped for a miracle. There was no
miracle. The next day Conner was removed from life support.
He died in his mother's arms. She held him for several hours
until the medical examiners office arrived to take Conner's
A Child Killer Emerges
From the moment police
were informed of Conner's death they had only one suspect.
Ronald Saunders. Saunders was the only person who was with
Conner when the injuries occurred. In order to strengthen their
case police did not arrest Saunders immediately. For the next
several weeks Saunders remained free and continued to stalk
Conner's mother. He would call her continuously and he would
also follow her in his car. He would even track her down at
the children's doctor appointments. By December 23, 2010 police
has enough evidence and arrested Ronald Saunders for the murder
of Conner Bachuss.
Saunders went to trial
and blamed Conner's death on everyone but himself. He blamed
Conner's daycare, Conner's mother, and Conner's sisters. It
was Saunders confession to a fellow inmate that explained what
happened. Saunders stated he and Conner were lying on the floor
sleeping and Conner had kicked him in the back. Saunders then
went into a daze. The next thing Saunders remembered was using
one of his hands to hold the back of Conner's head down. He
also said that he had one leg across Conner's back and the
other leg across Conner's legs. He also stated he had a pin
in his hand. Unfortunately the letter from the inmate detailing
Saunders confession was received on the second day of the trial
and could not be admitted into evidence. The inmate agreed
to testify if Saunders was retried. His only request was that
he be protected from Saunders.
Unfortunately since there
were no witnesses to the crime the jury deadlocked and did
not convict Saunders. In order to ensure a conviction the prosecutor
allowed Saunders to plead guilty to second-degree manslaughter.
He received a sentence of ten years in prison. Saunders took
an Alford Plea which means he refused to admit guilt however
he acknowledged there was more than enough evidence to convict
him of Conner's murder.
Had the jury heard Saunders
violent past they may have voted differently. In 2005 Saunders
was investigated by children's services in North Carolina.
Saunders was investigated after his girlfriend's son missed
three days of daycare. When the child returned to daycare he
had a bruised and bloodshot eye, bruising behind both ears,
two swollen lips and bruising on his forehead. The child was
removed from the home and suffered no further injuries. Saunders
was believed to have inflicted the injuries however he was
never criminally charged.
Saunders violent behavior
continued in April and May 2007 while serving in the U.S. Marines.
Saunders was convicted three times for assaults on fellow marines.
Two assaults involved binding another marine and hitting him
with his arms and fists. Another charge involved Saunders choking
another marine until he was unconscious and then dropping him
on a concrete deck, which fractured the marine's skull. Saunders
also had a charge dismissed that involved choking a fellow
Ronald Saunders is a child
killer. He has never shown remorse and still does not take
responsibility for his actions. Saunders also has a violent
past that includes both assaults on children and adults. Releasing
Ronald Saunders prior to serving his maximum sentence of ten
years would not further the interests of justice and will present
a serious risk to the community. In addition, releasing Saunders
early would deny justice for Conner Bachuss. Based on the fact
Ronald Saunders murdered an innocent two-year-old child, and
the fact he has an extensive history of violence, we believe
Ronald Saunders should serve his maximum sentence of ten years
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