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Maine man appeals conviction in child’s death in 1979

May 11, 2019

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine man who’s serving 15 years for his infant son’s death 40 years ago is appealing to the state supreme court.

An attorney for 64-four-year-old Burton “Ben” Hagar contends his statements over the years about the death of 4-month-old Nathan Hagar are inconsistent and unreliable. The appeal also questions a reliability of a police officer’s recollection about a pillow with mucus on it.

Last year, Hagar pleaded guilty to manslaughter after a judge ruled the infant’s death was a homicide, not sudden infant death syndrome. But it could be withdrawn if he wins his appeal.

Defense lawyer Verne Paradie questions the testimony about a pillow. The infant’s mother, Venus Nappi, testified that neither she nor Burton Hagar had ever put pillows in the child’s crib.