Man charged with killing baby pleads guilty, gets 22 years

Updated Oct 2, 2005

Twice before, Christopher Pozzi has been charged with injuring babies. Then he was accused of taking the violence one step further.

This week, he was supposed to face a jury on charges he killed 4-month-old James Woolard in a cocaine-fueled rage and then threw his body into a trash bin, never to be found.

The 26-year-old cafeteria worker instead pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder in exchange for a 22-year prison sentence.

"I think it's a good resolution," said prosecutor Karen Stanley.

Pozzi was staying with the boy's mother, Mary Woolard, in an apartment near the University of South Florida in August 1996 when they got into a violent argument. Pozzi hit the baby on the side of the head with his fist and slammed him down on a couch, investigators said.


The next morning, Woolard and Pozzi found the baby dead. They took his body to a nearby field to bury it, but instead threw it into a trash bin behind a Fletcher Avenue pizza restaurant, according to a Sheriff's Office report.

James' body was never found. The contents of that bin were collected and taken to the Hillsborough County landfill, where they were incinerated.

Authorities learned of James' death after Woolard confided to a friend and that friend called police. Pozzi was charged with first-degree murder. Woolard has not been charged.

Had Pozzi's case gone to trial this week, jurors would have heard an unusual murder case with no body and no medical examiner's autopsy.

It wasn't the first time Pozzi had been accused of injuring a baby, only the most serious.

In 1991, in Old Bridge, N.J., Pozzi was accused of hitting a 2-month-old child named E.J. during a domestic dispute. He pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child, a third-degree felony, and was sentenced to four years of probation, psychological counseling and substance abuse treatment, according to court records.

In Hillsborough County in March 1996, he was charged with the misdemeanor child abuse of an 18-month-old girl named Amber. He pleaded guilty and was given a sentence of 364 days in the Hillsborough County Jail, to be suspended after 30 days.


The three victims _ James, E.J. and Amber _ all had different mothers.

Pozzi also spent time in state prison for burglary and theft charges dating from 1994.

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