Utah father sentenced to prison for infant’s murder
McKenzie Romero, KSL.com
OGDEN, UTAH (KSL) — An Ogden father has been sentenced to prison for killing his infant daughter.
Michael Lee Hatton, 26, was sentenced Wednesday to spend at least 15 years and potentially the rest of his life in prison for the death of his 8-week-old daughter, Avery Hatton.
Hatton was charged with murder, a first-degree felony, in October 2016 after Avery succumbed to extensive injuries she suffered while in her father’s care. The charge was amended in June to aggravated murder, a first-degree felony and a capital offense.
In a deal with prosecutors, KSL.com reports the charge was reduced back down to murder in December and Hatton pleaded guilty, taking the possibility of a death penalty off the table.
According to police, 8-week-old Avery died three days after her father said he dropped her while he was feeding her. The father said Avery’s head had hit his knee and she had banged into an ottoman before she landing facedown on the floor, a police affidavit states.
But a doctor who investigated Avery’s extensive injuries said they were “too severe to be caused from the fall Michael described,” according to the affidavit.
When medical personnel at the hospital did an X-ray in order to insert a breathing tube for the infant, they discovered severe injuries including fractures on the girl’s skull, rib, clavicle and humerus, according to court documents.
In addition to the fractures discovered in the X-ray, some of which appeared to have been healing for four to seven days, the doctor discovered swelling in the girl’s brain believed to have been caused by violent shaking moments before she stopped breathing.
A doctor from the Center for Safe and Healthy Families examined Avery’s injuries and determined they were the result of either someone pulling on her limbs or violent shaking.
Hatton and his wife told police they were both originally from Ohio, and had moved in July to Utah from Delaware to live with friends after they both lost their jobs.
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