Family protests deal in Montrose infant slaying

Daniel Ryan

Despite protests from the victim’s family, Montrose prosecutors today entered into a plea agreement which calls for a 20-year prison sentence for a man accused of killing an infant girl.

Daniel Lee Ryan, 23, of Montrose, pleaded guilty Monday to an amended charge of negligent child abuse resulting in death, while the office of Montrose District Attorney Dan Hotsenpiller dismissed a charge of first-degree murder, according to Montrose County Court records.

Trish Rocha, the grandmother of slain 14-month-old Hailey Rocha, was among a chorus of protestors Monday morning holding signs in front of the Montrose County Justice Center, criticizing the deal as weak. Rocha also accused Hotsenpiller’s office of misleading the family during plea talks in the case.

“It’s sad they’re willing to give a murderer 20 years,” Rocha said during a phone interview.

A phone message seeking comment from Hotsenpiller was not immediately returned.

Ryan was arrested by Montrose police in September after authorities said Hailey Rocha suffered fatal injuries while the girl was left in his care. Police said there was no evidence Ryan had sought medical attention for the girl on Sept. 11, before he turned up with the injured child at the mother’s workplace, Taco Bell, 2050 S. Townsend Ave.

Ryan will be sentenced June 13.

Read the full story in Tuesday’s Daily Sentinel.


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