Ogden Daycare Worker Convicted of Child Abuse Homicide

Ogden Daycare Worker Convicted of Child Abuse Homicide

By Ken K. Gourdin

A daycare worker in Ogden, Utah, recently was convicted of child abuse homicide for her role in the death of an infant.  To another poster who indicated that “there was no intent” on her part “to injure or to kill” the infant, I responded:

Provided the evidence was properly weighed and everyone involved in the prosecution and in weighing the evidence – police, prosecutor, prosecution witnesses, judge, and jury members – did what the system expects, told the truth, and so forth, there’s no way she could not have been convicted of child abuse homicide.

Pursuant to Utah Code Annotated Title 76, Chapter 5, Section 203, Paragraph (1)(b), child abuse is a predicate offense under Utah’s murder statute. In other words, if someone commits child abuse upon a child and that child dies as a result of that abuse, by definition, that person is guilty of child abuse homicide, and, thus, by definition, had the requisite intent “to injure or kill” the child she killed. On the other hand, if your argument, instead, is that her actions do not amount to premeditated and/or to cold-blooded murder, you’re right about that, and that’s why she wasn’t charged with an even more serious crime which involves premeditation.

While her defense attorney is welcome on appeal to argue that some error was made in the presentation or weighing of the evidence such that, notwithstanding the jury’s verdict to the contrary, his client is, in fact, not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury obviously did not find his arguments at trial persuasive.

Bottom line? Had there been no intent to injure or to kill, this defendant could not have been convicted of child abuse homicide. Negligence, on the other hand, which, by definition, involves a lack of criminal intent, is what you’re talking about, and had she simply been negligent, while the baby’s parents could have sued her, absent some overreaching by a prosecutor (which I’m not saying never occurs, but I doubt it occurred in this case) criminal charges would not have been brought.

 To another poster, who opined that she should have been eligible for the death penalty, I responded, “I think she was charged and convicted appropriately. All crimes eligible for the death penalty of which I am aware involve premeditation. Yes, this was a heinous crime, but there was no premeditation, which is why she was not charged with a death-penalty offense.”

About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
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