An Iowa man who left his infant son in a swing to die was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday, during a sentencing hearing at the Chickasaw County District Court.
FOX News reports that 29-year-old Zachary Paul Koehn‘s sentence is in connection with the 2017 death of his son, 4-month-old Sterling Koehn, who was left alone in an infant swing for days. Koehn and the baby’s mother, Cheyanne Harris, 21, failed to help the baby, yet continued to take care of their toddler child, according to court documents.
Koehn left Sterling in a hot a bedroom with closed windows in a New Hampton apartment, and the humid, blistering temperatures eventually attracted flies. The flies hatched eggs which turned into maggots that crept all over the baby’s skin for days, the Des Moines Register reports.
Authorities said the baby’s feces inside his diaper seeped through his skin, causing an E. coli bacteria build-up in his bloodstream
A forensic entomologist stated that the maggots showed the infant stayed in the swing without a diaper change or bath for around nine days. Further, the baby wasn’t fed or given anything to drink. He died from infection, dehydration, and malnutrition, per court documents.
A father is charged in the death of Sterling Koehn, who was in the same maggot-infested diaper for nine to 14 days when EMTs were called to the home: https://t.co/T0PumVgPv1 pic.twitter.com/xwiKEa0Ocf
— 48 Hours (@48hours) November 5, 2018
During trial, Koehn’s attorneys unsuccessfully argued that he shouldn’t be charged with murder, claiming he didn’t intentionally kill the baby.
“There are multiple instances in the law imposing an affirmative duty not to kill. … That conduct is prohibited under law, however it is a different crime. Not murder in the first degree,” defense lawyer Steven Drahozal said.
Judge Richard Stochl stated Koehl will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, which is mandatory for first-degree murder under Iowa state law.
Harris, who’s also facing first-degree murder charges, is scheduled for trial starting in January.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Sterling Koehn, Zachary Koehn/Police Handout]