Father in child fentanyl death case pleads ‘no contest’ to manslaughter

February 13, 2023

Jacob Schutter

Father in child fentanyl death case pleads ‘no contest’ to manslaughter

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor

HART — The father of a 4-year-old boy who died from ingesting fentanyl in a Grant Township home last July pleaded “no contest” to involuntary manslaughter — homicide in 51st Circuit Court Monday, Feb. 13.

Jacob Scott Schutter, 32, and Jodi Michelle Neino, 29, are criminally charged in connection to Eli Jude Schutter’s July 1 death. Schutter faces serving a prison term 50 months to 15 years, said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon. A manslaughter conviction carries a 15-year maximum prison term.

Schutter, who is lodged in the Oceana County Jail, appeared in court with his attorney Ryan Good Monday morning.

In exchange for his plea to the manslaughter charge, a charge of second-degree child abuse, which carries 10-year maximum, will be dismissed.

Judge Susan K. Sniegowski stated that she reviewed the court transcripts from the 79th District Court preliminary exam, and the medical examiner’s testimony “indicated the 4-year-old child died from fentanyl toxicity; the fentanyl was left in a box right next to the couch where the child was sleeping; and the father was sleeping on the couch.”

Eli’s mother and Schutter’s co-defendant Jodi Neino is slated to appear in 51st Circuit Court in April for a pretrial hearing. Lodged in the Oceana County Jail, she faces involuntary manslaughter — homicide and second-degree child abuse charges.

Testimony was provided during the preliminary exam last fall by first responders and investigators at the scene of the Grant Township mobile home where the couple lived with Eli and their six other children — the youngest of whom was an infant. Investigators reported finding drugs and drug paraphernalia in several locations throughout the home.

Testimony also described deplorable conditions. “It smelled like a dumpster in the city in the summer,” testified Oceana County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Brown “Flies were everywhere.” 

The couple’s children are living with grandparents, said Bizon previously. The couple has supervised visitation of the kids.

Schutter’s sentencing is set for April 17 at 10:30 a.m.

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