Southeastern PA

Man pleads guilty to murder in 2014 death of 3-year-old boy

WEST CHESTER, Pa. - Gary Lee Fellenbaum, ruled competent earlier this year and set to stand trial on capital murder charges this month, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Friday.

"This draws to a conclusion, a horror story that began in November of 2014," said Chester County First Assistant District Attorney Mike Noone. "In November 2014, the defendant, Gary Fellenbaum, beat to death Scotty McMillan over a period of weeks."   

Authorities said Fellenbaum used homemade whips and other items for weeks at a home in West Caln Township.

"His older brother, who survived the assault, has now been adopted by a loving, caring family. He's now eight years old," said Noone.

What spurred Fellenbaum's guilty plea? Authorities said it's the fact that the death penalty is being taken off the table, and for the DA's office,  an avoidance the three-year-old victim's older brother having to testify.

"This young boy and his now-adopted family will be able to live a life and focus on their lives going forward, rather than deal with possible appeals, possible long terms of uncertainty," Noone explained.

It's been a nearly three-year march to a now-unnecessary trial and closer to closure for an innocent victim and a survivor.

"To get closure and to get it in this way was extremely important and ultimately is what our job is," Noone said.

Fellenbaum was sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus a consecutive 10 to 20 years incarceration.

Two others charged in the case -- Scotty's mother Jillian Tait and Fellenbaum's estranged wife Amber -- are awaiting sentencing for their roles in the crime.


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