Utah man sentenced to at least 5 years in prison in infant smothering deathPublished at | Updated at
LOGAN, Utah (KSL.com) — A Logan man will spend at least five years in prison for smothering an infant girl to death, after originally being charged with capital murder.
First District Judge Angela Fonnesbeck sentenced Kyle Taylor Gooch, 33, on May 1 to a term of five years to life in the Utah State Prison for the 2018 death of Kynlee Jo Corbridge, who was less than 1 year old.
Gooch pleaded guilty in April to a reduced charge of child abuse homicide, a first-degree felony, as part of a plea deal. He was originally charged with aggravated murder, a capital offense, among several other charges that were dismissed in exchange for his plea.
Defense attorney Jonathan Nish asserted that Kynlee’s death was reckless but not intentional, which is why the charges were reduced.
“(Gooch) did not intend to cause the death of the victim, … and that’s certainly reflected in the outcome of the case, where he took responsibility for what he did, in fact, do,” Nish said. “He’s grateful that everybody was willing to listen to what really happened.”
On Dec. 15, 2018, Gooch found Kynlee unresponsive in her crib, according to charging documents. Investigators believed she had died sometime the night before because of her body temperature, and the officer who arrived at the home found “several signs of trauma” including bruising and abrasions on Kynlee’s face.
Gooch was dating Kynlee’s mother at the time, and he told police his girlfriend had left the house to run an errand the night before. While she was gone, Kynlee screamed “hysterically,” and Gooch swaddled Kynlee in a large blanket to help calm her down, according to court documents.
Gooch said he put the baby face-down in her crib to sleep. The next morning, she was dead.
Gooch said Kynlee’s head injuries were caused by falling while learning to walk, but a final autopsy report from the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office on April 9, 2019, said the injuries indicated that Kynlee had been smothered.
“The constellation of bruises on the ears and back of the head and scalp, combined with the abrasions on the face, are consistent with inflicted pressure as might occur with smothering,” the medical examiner’s report said, according to court records. “Injuries in this area in a child of this age and developmental ability would be very unusual as accidental injuries.”
Police said in an affidavit that Gooch forced the infant’s head into her mattress “with reckless indifference to human life.”
In a police interview on June 19, 2019, Kynlee’s mother told detectives that Gooch was “very controlling” of her and her children and that she believed he was capable of smothering Kynlee.
Kynlee’s mother also said Gooch would cover her children’s mouths to make them stop crying, and that Gooch was “very intoxicated” the night Kynlee died, according to charging documents.
Other charges against Gooch that were considered in his sentencing included assault, a class B misdemeanor; and criminal mischief, including intentionally damaging, defacing or destroying property, a class A misdemeanor. He was also charged with two counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child, a class B misdemeanor; intoxication, a class C misdemeanor; and violation of a protective order, a class A misdemeanor.
Several charges against Gooch were dismissed, including aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony; aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; and criminal mischief, including intentionally damaging, defacing or destroying property, a class A misdemeanor. Other dismissed charges included violation of a protective order and assault by a prisoner, both third-degree felonies.