Aaron Pace, 36, pleaded guilty Wednesday to third-degree murder in the death of Suliaman Orrell Kirkland in 2010. Pace said he was babysitting when the toddler made a fuss in the bathtub, and he rubbed the child's body with Drano crystals he had sprinkled on a washcloth.
Assistant District Attorney Christine Wechsler said in court Pace had told police he saw the child's skin falling off as he dried him off.
The incident occurred Feb. 2, 2010, and Orrell Kirkland died in the hospital five days later. Pace said he did not immediately take the child to a hospital because he had no insurance, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.
Defense attorney Fred Goodman said his client has an IQ between 57 and 68. He said Pace understood what he was doing in pleading guilty to third-degree murder.
"I just want to say to the family that I'm sorry for what happened," Pace told the victim's family. "I never meant this to happen and it hurts me more than anything that he's gone."
Pace's family members were removed from the courtroom for swearing and threatening Kirkland's family, the Daily News reported.
Quintesha Kirkland, Suliaman's mother, said she had suffered twice -- once with her son's death and a second time when child protection workers took her 13-year-old daughter from her after Suliaman was killed.