A 19-year-old Colorado father who admitted to causing the death of his 6-month-old infant daughter was sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
On November 1, 2011, police received a 911 call for a report of a child not breathing. When authorities arrived, they said the baby’s father, Dylan Kuhn, told them he awoke to his daughter, Sailor, hanging over the side of the bed with a blanket wrapped around her neck, according to the affidavit.
An autopsy revealed Sailor had “subdural hematomas and hemorrhaging in her optic nerve sheath which was a recent injury.” A medical examiner determined the baby’s injuries were “consistent with a baby being slammed against a soft but unyielding surface similar to that of a firm mattress,” the affidavit states.
During an interview with police, Kuhn admitted Sailor had fallen off the couch a couple of days before she died. A medical examiner explained to Kuhn that the baby’s “injuries were not caused from Sailor falling off the couch and bumping her head,” according to the affidavit.
Kuhn eventually admitted to slamming his daughter down on a bed the night she died, but said he “did not mean to hurt her,” police said in the affidavit.
When asked if the blanket was ever wrapped around Sailor’s neck, Kuhn admitted the “blanket was not wrapped around her neck.” Kuhn said he walked away after he forcefully put his daughter on the bed and she “became quiet afterwards,” the affidavit states.
Authorities said when they asked Kuhn why he lied to them, he stated “he was scared” and that his girlfriend, Sailor’s mother, was going to “hate him when she finds out what happened.”
Kuhn was subsequently charged with child abuse causing death and manslaughter. In a plea deal, prosecutors said they agreed to drop the child abuse charge in exchange for Kuhn pleading guilty to manslaughter.
“The public record shows that I strongly advocated in court for a prison sentence because of what the Defendant did to Sailor Kuhn,” District Attorney Russell Wasley told HLN. “The Court disagreed with my position. I respect the Court, but the Office of the District Attorney felt prison was appropriate, and was deeply disappointed in the sentence.”
At his sentencing, District Court Judge Douglas Walker cited Kuhn’s lack of a criminal history, his age and the likelihood that he would not be a repeat offender as some of the reasons for not sending him to prison, The Cortez Journal reported.
Judge Walker told Kuhn at his sentencing to “Make this best of this opportunity, if nothing else, to honor your daughter,” The Cortez Journal reported.
“We will let the record stand on its own,” Rob McCallum of the Colorado Judicial Department told HLN,
In addition to his 90 day sentence, Kuhn must complete four years’ probation, submit to a mental health evaluation, and substance abuse evaluation. He is not allowed to be alone with any child under age 10 and must complete a parenting class.