Sentence proper in tot’s death, court says

The Colorado Court of Appeals has rejected arguments by a Grand Junction man serving a prison sentence in connection with the death of a toddler girl.

Through his attorneys, Charles McEachern, 36, had claimed his 32-year prison sentence imposed in November 2009 was too harsh.

“The trial court has broad discretion in determining an appropriate sentence and only in exceptional cases will an appellate court overturn a trial court’s sentencing decision,” the Court of Appeals said in a ruling issued last week.

McEachern’s case wasn’t exceptional, the court said.

Originally charged with first-degree murder in the death 3-year-old Miranda Baca, McEachern was the beneficiary of a plea agreement in September 2009. He pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death. The terms of the deal set a possible maximum sentence of 32 years. District Judge Brian Flynn imposed that maximum term on Nov. 16, 2009.

McEachern faced a possible life term if convicted of first-degree murder.

In his appeal, he argued the judge failed to account for mitigating factors, such as a lack of prior criminal history, consisting of a lone misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. McEachern also said he had a good work history and that Flynn received numerous letters from supporters.

Miranda died as a result of blunt-force trauma and suffered her injuries after being left alone in McEachern’s care in June 2006. The girl’s mother was away working.

He denied hurting the girl and said Miranda fell off a bed and onto her head. Attorneys argued he didn’t immediately seek medical attention for the child because she seemed fine after briefly losing consciousness.

McEachern will be eligible for parole in 2023, according to state prison records.


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