Boyfriend sentenced to two years for involuntary manslaughter of boy
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 06/27/2008 12:42:26 AM MDT
A southeastern Utah man who admitted killing his girlfriend's son when he accidentally fell on him has been sentenced to two years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell imposed the punishment Tuesday on 36-year-old Edgar Lynn Chee. Under a deal with prosecutors, Chee pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter within Indian country.
According to court records, the Oljeto man was watching 2 1/2 -year-old Xavier John on Aug. 14 while his girlfriend was running errands. As Shannon John was returning home, she saw Chee driving toward her with her son's lifeless body in the car, the records say.
The toddler was pronounced dead on arrival at Monument Valley Health Center in San Juan County. A Navajo tribal criminal investigator said there were retinal hemorrhages and bruising around the child's eyes and on his trunk, as well as a small ligature mark on his throat. An autopsy report said the cause of death was undetermined.
Chee originally was charged with second-degree murder, but the charge was reduced in his plea deal.
Defense attorney Robin Ljungberg contended in a presentence brief that Chee is a "gentle and caring" man with no history of violence against children. He said Chee and his family helped take care of Xavier, who allegedly had developmental problems and suffered from seizures.
Chee's guilty plea involved reckless conduct,
Ljungberg acknowledged in the brief, and included his failure to immediately check on the boy's condition, "an omission for which he will never forgive himself."
- Pamela Manson
Copyright 2008 by United Press International
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