Father sentenced in death of infant son

April 25, 2006|by DON AINES


A former Zullinger, Pa., man convicted of third-degree murder in the 2004 death of his infant son has been sentenced in Franklin County Court to seven to 20 years in state prison.

Shane Michael Barrett, 25, formerly of 5261 Buchanan Trail East, was sentenced Friday by Judge Douglas W. Herman for the Nov. 18, 2004, death of 3-month-old Kaden Michael Barrett, Assistant District Attorney Angela Krom said.

Barrett, who originally was charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child, entered the plea March 17, according to court records.


The victim's family was consulted prior to the entering of the plea agreement and several family members were present during the sentencing, Krom said. The prison sentence imposed Friday was part of the plea agreement, Krom said.

"It would not have been proposed and it would not have been accepted unless the victim's family had been consulted ... and expressed their acceptance of the plea agreement," Krom said Monday.

Kaden Barrett was pronounced dead at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center on Nov. 18, a day after he was taken there, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed by the Washington Township Police Department. Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner said in 2004 the cause of death was battered child syndrome.

On Nov. 17, Shane Barrett called 911 to report finding his son "unresponsive with a blank look on his face" lying on the living room floor, police said.

Police said Barrett told them he had been carrying the child on Nov. 11 when he tripped on a loose shoelace and the baby's head struck a door frame. Barrett also told police he had dropped the baby on the night of Nov. 16, or early on Nov. 17, while changing the infant's diaper.

The child was taken to Waynesboro Hospital and then to Hershey by helicopter, police said. At Hershey, a doctor told the investigating officer that Kaden Barrett's injuries "were not consistent with the version of events" provided by the father.

The investigating officer wrote in the affidavit that Kaden Barrett had what appeared to be a discolored depression on his forehead.

Police said the child's mother, Kristen Heckman, was interviewed and she was aware of bruises to the child's head and arm a week before his death. She told police the bruise on her son's head appeared to be going away until Nov. 17, when it again appeared discolored.

Shane Barrett was interviewed again and told police that on Nov. 15 and 16 he had occasionally held the infant's mouth closed to stop his crying and had squeezed his stomach "to get the spit-up out," the affidavit stated.

Barrett also told police that on Nov. 17 he tossed the child face down onto the floor from about knee level, the affidavit stated. He told police he "was upset due to the emotional night I had with him and meant no harm ... It just happened out of the spite of the moment," according to the affidavit.

Barrett had been free on bail since early December 2004 and was given 12 days credit for time served, according to court documents. Herman also fined him $500 and ordered him to pay $5,626 in restitution to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

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