Father guilty in death of daughter

Faces sentence of 30 to 40 years

Matthew Ogden

A Parachute man has pleaded guilty in connection with the death of his month-old daughter last year and faces a prison sentence of 30 to 40 years in prison.

Matthew Ogden, 31, pleaded guilty last week to child abuse resulting in death. Sarah Ogden died of blunt-force injuries June 20, 2015, at their residence.

Ogden also originally was charged with first-degree murder of a child under 12 in the case, which would have carried a sentence of life in prison upon conviction.

“The bottom line for us is that we didn’t feel that he intentionally meant to kill that child,” 9th Judicial District Attorney Sherry Caloia said in explaining the decision to drop that charge under the deal.

Ogden did, however, act in a reckless fashion, leading to Sarah’s death, Caloia believes.

She also cited Ogden’s lack of much of a criminal history and some conflicting medical information about how Sarah’s injuries were caused in explaining prosecutors’ decision to accept his plea to a lesser charge.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 3. Caloia said she believes child abuse resulting in death carries a sentence of 24 to 48 years, but the 30- to 40-year sentence is a stipulated part of the plea deal.

Ogden’s wife, Phyllis “Amy” Wyatt, has told authorities that the night before Sarah’s death, Ogden had violently shaken the infant to try to stop her crying, and then took her to another room. Wyatt said she heard “horrific” pounding or thumping noises coming from that room but failed to intervene.

Sarah was discovered not to be breathing the following morning and was pronounced dead later that day.

Wyatt was sentenced to eight years in prison for child abuse resulting in death through negligence, for failing to act when she heard the noises or later tell medical responders what had happened to Sarah as they tried to save her life.

Ogden and Wyatt were arrested in late June 2015 after authorities tracked them down in rural Minnesota. They had left Colorado within days after Sarah’s death, before arrest warrants had been issued for them.

Caloia said Wyatt’s account of what happened to Sarah is consistent with what prosecutors know, and while it’s hard to know exactly what Ogden did to cause Sarah’s death, it wasn’t entirely accidental.

Caloia, a Democrat, lost her bid for re-election in November, and Jeff Cheney, a Republican, will take her place in January. Ogden had been scheduled to go to trial in January but Caloia said her departure from office had nothing to do with the plea deal, which had been in the works for months. She said it’s her understanding that prosecutor Matt Barrett, who has been handling the case, will keep his job under Cheney, so he still could have taken it to trial had a plea deal not been reached.

But she called the plea appropriate, and in line with pleas for numerous other child-death cases across the state.

Sarah is survived by a twin brother who was taken into protective custody by authorities after her death.


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