DANVILLE, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in the beating death of his 1-year-old daughter.
John Robert Shore, 32, pleaded guilty to non-capital murder in Danville Circuit Court on Thursday, news outlets reported. A child abuse charge was dropped as part of a plea agreement.
Prosecutors alleged Shore told 911 dispatchers on a January night in 2019 that his infant daughter, Oaklyn Leigh Owens, was limp in her crib and appeared to have stopped breathing. He claimed the child had fallen out of her crib onto a wooden floor the night before, but medics immediately noticed she was in cardiac arrest and had bruises and scabbed over injuries on her body, court documents show.
Defense attorney Glenn Berger argued Oaklyn’s death was an accident. But Danville Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Petra Haskins pointed to evidence that showed Oaklyn died from complications of blunt trauma to the head.
Shore was also accused of giving conflicting accounts of what happened to Oaklyn — first saying she fell from the crib, hitting a dresser and the floor, then saying she had climbed up near a coffee table and fallen earlier in the week, according to testimony from prosecutors.
Evidence from the scene revealed a fresh hole in the wall in Shore’s bedroom and blood found on the bed both contained Oaklyn’s DNA.
Oaklyn’s mother, Danielle Owens, was also accused of giving inconsistent statements to investigators, but police didn’t find evidence suggesting she hurt the child, court documents showed.