Sentence in girl’s death is 32 years
Nothing less than the maximum, 32 years in prison, would have pleased the father of a 3-year-old girl who died by child abuse.
Jamie Baca said some sort of justice was served when the killer of his daughter, Miranda Baca, was handed that sentence Monday.
“It’s destroyed me, sir,” Baca wept to Mesa County District Judge Brian Flynn during a sentencing hearing for Charles McEachern.
“Miranda, Miranda,” Baca cried. “I just want my baby back.”
McEachern, 34, originally faced a first-degree murder charge after being arrested in Arvada in December 2007 in connection with the death of Miranda Baca on June 9, 2006. He pleaded guilty in September to a charge of child abuse resulting in death.
According to court records, McEachern was watching Miranda while Miranda’s mother, 29-year-old Tiera Morger, was at work. McEachern told police he was the only adult in the house, but he denied hurting the child.
Morger called 911 on the morning of June 9 after returning home from work and finding the girl not breathing and biting her tongue. The girl was pronounced brain dead a day after being taken to St. Mary’s Hospital, where a doctor said her injuries included massive cerebral hemorrhaging and bruising.
McEachern on Monday stood, facing members of the victim’s family, to apologize. Morger sobbed throughout the emotional hearing, while other members of the victim’s family uttered threats under their breath, seething while staring down the defendant. Court security was increased from two to four deputies.
“I know what I’m doing is right,” McEachern said to the victims. “My only regret is I wish I would have had more courage to mention this three and-a-half years ago.”
Within the past week, McEachern revealed that he believed a pillow fight between Miranda and him may have caused the child’s death. McEachern told his defense attorney, Tony Link, that Miranda fell off a bed onto her head and was briefly unconscious, but she seemed fine when she came to so he didn’t seek medical attention.
Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said that goes against a report by Mesa County Coroner Dean Havlik, which showed Miranda sustained seven traumatic blows to the head, which caused her death.
Flynn said he felt for Miranda’s family, that he believed the crime to be extraordinarily aggravated and he found the evidence from Dr. Havlik and another coroner to be credible.
“It’s important to recognize Miranda’s family loss,” Flynn said. “They’ll never get over this and I doubt that anybody could.”
McEachern received 694 days pre-sentence confinement credit. He was ordered to pay more than $2,000 in fees and will have to pay a $1,000 Crimes Against Children surcharge.