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Franklin County man pleads guilty to killing grandson

A Franklin County man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 7-year-old grandson in Rocky Mount.

John Ebel is being held in the Western Virginia Regional Jail and is scheduled to be sentenced April 28.

The boy died two days after being taken to Roanoke Memorial Hospital for treatment of injuries originally reported as a result of a fall. Court documents showed Ebel told investigators he had hit the boy in the face with his hand, but did not immediately seek treatment for the boy.

The death was ruled a homicide when a medical examiner determined the cause as blunt force trauma to the head.

As part of the plea deal, charges of child abuse were dropped, according to the Franklin County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.

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