NEW HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa woman whose infant son's lifeless body was found in a baby swing has been imprisoned for life without possibility of parole.
Court records say 22-year-old Cheyanne Harris was sentenced Tuesday, Feb. 19 in New Hampton to the state-mandated penalty, and her request for a new trial was denied. A jury found her guilty Feb. 6 of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death.
The charges stem from the death of 4-month-old Sterling Koehn, whose body was found Aug. 30, 2017, in a maggot-infested diaper at an apartment in Alta Vista. The swing was in a sweltering bedroom.
An autopsy shows he died of malnutrition, dehydration and an E. coli infection.
The baby's father, Zachary Koehn, also has been sentenced to life in prison.
During Koehn's trial, a forensic entomologist determined the baby "had not had a diaper change, bath, or been removed from the seat in over a week."
Koehn’s defense team had argued that he had entrusted care of the baby to Harris, saying he had been working 70 to 80 hours a week as a trucker to provide for his family. His attorneys said Koehn simply failed to notice signs that Harris may have been suffering from depression, which kept her from caring for the baby.
Assistant Attorney General Denise Timmins told jurors that Koehn was home often enough to know that the baby wasn’t being cared for and did nothing to help him.
“He let Sterling rot in that room. He left him there to die,” Timmins said.