Erie County officials work to block parole of child killer

The horrific death of 3-year-old Michael Wasserman in 1990 is not easily forgotten.
Jessica Cuffman
Dec 3, 2012

His killer, Craig Popke, is up for parole next month.

With no family members left to speak for Michael, it will be up to local agencies and a Columbus-based advocate to keep Popke from being released from serving his life sentence.

Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter describes Michael's death as brutal and heinous, and the child as the most innocent of victims in a letter he sent to the parole board earlier this month, opposing Popke's release.

For more on the murder and who's helping to block Popke's parole, pick up a copy of Monday's Register.

Want to help?
Craig Popke, 47, is up for parole at Richland Correctional Institution on Dec. 27.
Popke was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for the 1990 death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old boy, Michael Wasserman.
Michael suffered third-degree burns that eventually lead to his death after an excruciating three days.
To sign a petition to oppose Popke's release, visit



Signed. This man should never be released into society.


If they release this man we should all go down and shot the parole board. This man should NEVER get out. Signed it.


Signed. What a disgusting man!


Well, I guess we can always come up with a lintching mob?


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


I signed it.This ... should NEVER be let out. Some things just can' t be forgiven.


The link isn't working, but I'll find a way there. Why do we need to go to extra lengths to get common sense justice? I suspect much of our violent crime is committed by those who should never have been released from jail or prison. That's a fact in the city I live in. We need to know who is on parole boards so they too can be held accountable for their actions. Why are they kept a secret? The common citizen's info is not kept a secret, all your information is accessible immediately for public servants to access. That's fine, as long as criminals don't have more protection, and right now, they do. Now I'm out, going to find that petition.

he said she said

there is the website address

TKeegan73's picture

I will gladly sign this! I lost my almost 3 year old son back on November 16th 1998 in Sandusky, Ohio at the hands of a crackhead. The circumstances were way too similar when I started reading this and it immediately left a lump in my throat and brought back many painful memories. This monster should NEVER be allowed to walk the street again, let alone be allowed to breathe the same air. I agree the death penalty should of been put in place as I wanted the same for the murderer of my son but that didn't happen either. I only hope by me signing this it will help keep him in prison where he belongs, I also hope this petition is used when the man that murdered my son comes up for parole in 2024 and I hope it gets a LOT of signatures as well as this one! It's been 14 long years since my little boy was painfully taken from this world and yet it still feels like yesterday. I pray God takes care of all the innocent children that have been painfully taken from us and that the monsters that do these horrible things are brought to justice and the hand of God punishes them even more than our judicial system already has!


Mikey was my cousin! So the no family left bs is upsetting to say the least! We have a huge family and all of us remember this injustice. Poor big eyed Mikey :( and there were more than the burns from the bath. He has cigarette burns all over (one right on top of his lips) and many bruises. He suffered a, great deal and I wil NEVER forget why! This man should stay on jail so he can remember EVERYDAY why he's there!

I miss you mikey! Praying for your justice to continue!

he said she said

I am so sorry for what the poor baby went through and what your family is going through now!
I will keep you and your family in my thoughts


Mikey IS my cousin! He Is loved and will always be loved!!!!! As a family this is all so hard! Mikey never asked to be taken out of this world nor should he have been from anyone's hand! That is God's decision n his alone when we leave this earth! There will NEVER be justice served! Nothing will bring Mikey back!!!!!! Me and Mikey were close as can be we were together all the time! Were only 2 month's apart!!!!!!! I had my childhood with my best friend ripped away from me!!!!!! I know personally i want to thank everyone that is trying to help and keep Craig behind bars! Mikey was a wonderful little boy now all we have are memories and pictures! Life is not fair at times! But we can control this aweful poor excuse of a man getting out and having freedom!!!!!! N HIS family IS fighting!!!!!!

he said she said

I didn't know he was coming up for parole until someone put it on Facebook. I signed the petition. He should not get out of jail! The mother should not get out of jail either. She is just as guilty for not taking that baby to the ER to get help. They both should get the same thing that they did to that poor baby and let them lay in pain until they die.


I signed,shared and know that MANY others are doing the same. The d. a. m. n. criminals have more rights than we do. Erie Co. inmates are trying to settle some cases b4 some even go in front of the judge. My head tells me its wrong,but this mother/grandmother heart is glad. Guess that makes me un-christian like. Tell someone who gives a s***. I care more about these babies,than my reputation of playing nicely.


And the ones who choose to ignore these things going on,deserve to sit and rot also. WHEN are we going to get these laws changed to either life in prison,no t.v.,no health care,no visitors,etc...or rot till the end of time there. Neglectful, me me me mommies too.Enough is enough.

DEEPsix's picture

do you folks really think he's getting out??? Honestly, there is no way on earth the PB is going to parole him. He will do more than 30yrs, at least, and if he LIVES. inside, he will die one day.