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Published: Tuesday, 2/14/2006

Dad faces life for drowning 13-month-old

OTTAWA, Ohio - A Putnam County man who drowned his 13-month-old son in a bathtub faces the possibility of life in prison when he is sentenced March 3.

Michael Luebrecht, 37, of Fort Jennings pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated murder Friday in Putnam County Common Pleas Court. In exchange for his plea, Putnam County Prosecutor Gary Lammers agreed to drop the death-penalty specification in the case.

Judge Randall Basinger will have four options when sentencing Luebrecht: life in prison with the possibility of parole or life in prison with parole eligibility after 20, 25, or 30 years.

On May 23, Luebrecht picked up his son, Joel, from a babysitter's house, took him home, filled the bathtub with water, and held him under the water. He then called 911 and told the operator he had drowned his son in the bathtub. Luebrecht, who has a history of mental illness, was waiting at the house when emergency responders arrived.

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