Conneaut man pleads guilty to killing girlfriend’s daughter in 2017

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 5:52 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 at 11:27 AM EDT
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ASHTABULA COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - The Conneaut man accused of murdering his girlfriend’s 13-month-old daughter in 2017 pleaded guilty in Ashtabula County Court of Common Pleas Monday morning.

Joshua Gurto pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Visiting Retired Judge Patricia Cosgrove said this sentence will start after his 28 year conviction on an unrelated burglary and rape.

Gurto killed Sereniti JazzLyn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley on Oct. 7, 2017 in an apartment in the 500 block of Clark Street in Conneaut.

According to police and the coroner, the toddler died of blunt force trauma.

“She was such a happy baby, she always smiled. She just learned how to walk. She would come outside waving. She had these bright blue eyes,” said neighbor Erica Smith.

Police said Gurto fled the area after the murder and was arrested on Oct. 27, 2017 at a gas station in Alleghany County, PA.

Powerful worked from Sereniti’s loved ones in a packed Ashtabula County Courtroom.

“You did this you put us all here turn around and look at us, face what you did to our family,” said Sereniti’s grandmother.

The family of 13-month-old baby girl Gurto to look them in their eyes. Instead, he sat with his back to them with a smirk on his face.

“Every time we have to step into this courtroom it rips it open again and all we want to know is why. That is our biggest question, why? How can anybody do this to a child?” said Sereniti’s Aunt.

New details were revealed, medical records show Gurto never raped Sereniti, but despite this new information, family believes he still deserve more time.

‘’Nothing is the same, nothing is the same, we can’t look at life the same way you used to” said Sereniti’s grandfather,

Family said this punishment will never be enough to erase the pain.

Joshua Gurto. (Source: Conneaut Police Department)
Joshua Gurto. (Source: Conneaut Police Department)
Sereniti Jazzlyn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley
Sereniti Jazzlyn-Sky Blankenship-Sutley(WOIO (custom credit) | WOIO)

The child’s mother, Kelsie Marie Blankenship, was already scheduled to six years in prison for her role in her daughter’s murder.

Kelsie Marie Blankenship
Kelsie Marie Blankenship(Source: Ashtabula County Prosecutor's Office)