King Pleads Guilty to Killing Toddler

Salem, VA - The man accused of murdering 13-month old Veralee Craft pleaded guilty Thursday morning to first degree murder in Roanoke County Circuit Court.

Preston King agreed to the plea in order to avoid a capital murder trial.

The evidence was difficult to listen to for many, as pictures of young Veralee in the last hours of her life were shown.

The pictures and descriptions had many people in the courtroom working to hold back tears.

The plea by King, 28, will spare hours of information that would have been part of the trial.

According to the Commonwealth, forensic evidence proves that Veralee was the victim of prolonged abuse that happened during different occasions leading up to her death.

On the day in question, July 22 of last year, the abuse went beyond anything the child had endured before. The abuse resulted in multiple fractures of the skull and a fractured arm, according to the Commonwealth.

Veralee's father said the evidence was very difficult for him to listen to.

"It's tough. I understand that it is part of the proceeding, but it is tough to look at," Veralee's Father, Jonathan Craft said.

Noticeably missing from the proceeding was Veralee's mother, who was dating Preston King at the time of her daughter's death.

King, who faces life in prison, will be sentenced early next year.

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