Ind. Man Convicted in Son's Death
May. 09, 2002
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FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) _ A man was convicted Wednesday of suffocating his infant son to get revenge against his wife for skipping his father's funeral.
Ronald Shanabarger faces possible life in prison without parole for the death of 7-month-old Tyler in June 1999.
After the verdict, jurors met for about 50 minutes but were unable to decide whether to recommend the life sentence to Judge Raymond Kickbush. Sentencing was scheduled for June 6.
Prosecutors told the jury that Shanabarger, 32, suffocated Tyler by placing plastic food wrap around the baby's head. They said he wanted revenge against Amy Parsons for missing his father's funeral three years earlier, before the couple married. The two have since divorced.
The prosecution cited nine confessions and dozens of letters Shanabarger wrote acknowledging his guilt.
The defense contended Tyler was a victim of sudden infant death syndrome, not homicide; raised claims that Shanabarger was mentally retarded; and suggested that Parsons engineered the killing and the confessions to cash in on a $100,000 life insurance policy on the baby.
Shanabarger muttered, ``I'm just shocked. I'm just shocked,'' as the verdict was read.
Defense attorney Jay Hoffman said an appeal is planned.