WOODLAND — The father of a baby found dead in a Yolo County slough has pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter.
It’s not unusual to see a defendant make a plea at the start of a trial, but the reason — the legal maneuvering that motivated Frank Rees — was almost unprecedented, according to prosecutors.
Siblings defend each other, and it seems a sibling slain baby Justice will never know was key to holding their shared parent accountable for his unnecessary death.
That parent? Thirty-one-year-old Frank Rees.
“He was contacted finally in February of this year at the same address with a new girlfriend. Both had meth on their persons. She had a pipe. He had a quantity of methamphetamine and she was pregnant,” said Ryan Couzens, supervising deputy district attorney for Yolo County.
After the presentation of that evidence in court Tuesday, Rees opted for a no-contest plea to involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment and administration of meth in the death of his 19-day-old-son in a freezing slough.
The new pregnancy and Rees supplying another woman with drugs is what gave Yolo County prosecutors the legal theory they needed to attach criminal responsibility to what they believed Rees had done back in February 2015 with Justice’s mother – Samantha Green.
“When we received that information, we know how that movie ends, and we know it ends in the death of a possibly another child, ” said Robert Gorman, another Supervising Deputy District Attorney for Yolo County.
“Frank Rees is an absolute danger.”
Back in 2015, Rees gave Green liquid meth — trying to convince her to have a threesome she originally refused. Later, she changed her mind and went searching for him in Ridge Cut Slough where he was supposed to be having sex in a car with another woman.
She passed out, leaving Baby Justice next to a tree.
He died of exposure.
Rees was Iiving with his parents and Green in Woodland when Justice died, and it was here that he was tracked down giving drugs to the mother of his other child and arrested.
FOX40 went to see what his parents might have to say about what’s happened with their son.
“Not going to talk to you,” said Mrs. Rees when she answered the door.
Rees’ attorney said via statement that the plea was taken to “avoid publicity and embarrassment” and that his client has “lots of remorse.”
“For Frank Rees to plead without going to trial to six years in prison, we got almost every day in prison on Frank that we would have got had we gone to trial,” said Gorman.
“This is not a happy day. Baby Justice Rees is dead and nothing will bring him back, but this is a day when justice has finally prevailed,” said Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig.
Rees will serve his time in state prison.
FOX40 has learned that his child born earlier this year to the woman he was found with, was born meth-positive.