Crime & Courts
10 years for Valrico man whose children died of heat exposure
TAMPA - A Valrico man faces 10 years in state prison under a plea deal in the deaths of his two children, possibly in a hot car. Michael Jon Ervin Jr. pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of aggravated manslaughter in the Aug. 13, 2009, deaths of 18-month-old Zionna Ervin and 5-month-old Kaden Warren. A plea agreement calls for him to be sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by five years of probation. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Ervin is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 22. The medical examiner's office has said Ervin's children died of environmental hyperthermia. Authorities say they had elevated core body temperatures: 109 degrees for Zionna, 105 for Kaden.Authorities have said the children were apparently lifeless when Ervin took them to Brandon Regional Hospital. Investigators got a warrant to search a car but have not confirmed whether the children died from being left in a hot vehicle. At a bail hearing, a sheriff's deputy said two co-workers of the children's mother, Enidlin Warren, said they heard her tell Ervin during a phone call, "What do you mean their lips are blue? What do you mean they're locked in a car?" According to an arrest report, a witness told investigators Ervin came to his house about 11 a.m. that day with Zionna and Kaden in tow and that he and Ervin smoked pot together. After Ervin arrived at Brandon Regional with his children, he waited patiently for his turn, Morgan said. Ervin stepped to a counter and placed his daughter on a security desk, saying she was unresponsive but didn't immediately mention that he also had his son in a baby carrier, Morgan said. The carrier "was extremely hot," the detective said.