Cheyanne Harris: Mother sentenced to life without parole after 4-month-old son found dead
22-year-old Cheyanne Harris was seen in court showing no emotions on February 19 as she was sentenced in New Hampton to the state-mandated penalty
A woman from Iowa was setenced to life behind bars without possibility of parole for the death of her 4-month-old son, whose maggot-infested body was found on a swing in their house.
Sterling Koehn was found lifeless and bleeding from his mouth in his sweltering bedroom on August 30, 2017 at an apartment in Alta Vista, Chickasaw County, the Daily Mail reported.
Twenty two-year-old Cheyanne Harris was seen in court showing no emotions on February 19 as she was sentenced in New Hampton to the state-mandated penalty. Her request for a new trial was also denied. It took the jurors in Plymouth County about four hours to find the woman guilty of first-degree murder and child endangerment.
None of Harris' family members were present to see the young mother being sentenced. Zachary Koehn, the child's father, was earlier sentenced to life behind bars on December 4 last year for the death.
A post-mortem examination of the infant's body showed that he died of malnutrition, dehydration, and an infection from E. coli. Harris, who was a drug user and who pleaded not guilty during her plea hearing, was arrested after the paramedics found the baby.
The young mother had caused a break in her trial in January when she started crying after seeing pictures of her dead infant.
The images were gruesome and showed the child bleeding from the mouth while wearing camouflage pants and a shirt with a cartoon cow on it that said: "let's play". The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported that the authorities said they had found everything that was needed to care for an infant, including new diapers and baby ointment to treat the rash, inside of the apartment.
Koehn reportedly made $450,000 a year and even had access to health insurance but witnesses told the court that the apartment had smelt of urine, feces, and general decay. The couple's other child, a 2-year-old daughter, was healthy and appeared fine.
The court heard that baby Sterling's blanket was covered in urine and that there were maggots on his clothes. Chief Deputy Reed Palo said that Harris had told him she had fed her child about four ounces of food just the night before he was found.
A forensic entomologist, however, said that Sterling had been in his baby swing anywhere between 9 to 14 days in the same diaper. The expert also said that he had "not had a diaper change, bath, or been removed from the seat in over a week".
Harris, who was last reported of having used meth just weeks before her baby died, is reported to have had postpartum depression and was expected to use intoxication or diminished responsibility as a defense during the trial.
29-year-old Zachary Paul Koehn, from Alta Vista, was convicted in less than 2 hours and has received a mandatory prison sentence of life in jail without parole for child endangerment in Sterling's death.