For striking her baby’s head against an object so hard that his brain shut down, a young mother was sent to prison for life Thursday.
Amanda Bacon, 26, of 504 W. Alexis Rd. made no statement — nor did her attorneys or the prosecutors who tried the case over the last two weeks — before Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Frederick McDonald imposed the mandatory life sentence for murder. She will be eligible for parole after she serves 15 years.
“We’ll oppose parole every step of the way, whenever she becomes eligible,” Frank Spryszak, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said afterward.
Prosecutors argued during her jury trial that Bacon was a disinterested parent who danced at adult clubs and worked as a prostitute. The evidence showed — and even Bacon admitted on the stand — that on Dec. 16, 2012, the night her 6-month-old son, Avery Glynn Bacon, was injured, she left him in the care of her roommate, Frank Jones, and went to an area hotel to “turn a trick.”
While she maintained her innocence, placing the blame for Avery’s head injuries on Mr. Jones, the jury found her guilty on Friday of murder and endangering children. She was acquitted on a more serious charge of aggravated murder.
“I think the saddest part is that Avery didn’t have — his biological father never showed up for trial — so he didn’t really have a voice on his behalf,” Mr. Spryszak said. “Luckily David Skrepenski and his family made themselves available to advocate on his behalf during the trial and at sentencing so at least somebody’s been there for Avery.”
Skrepenski and his late wife, Theresa, took care of Avery for much of his life and had hoped to adopt him. Now serving an 8-year prison sentence from a Wood County conviction on two counts of burglary, Skrepenski submitted a letter to the court that Judge McDonald read before imposing the sentence. The judge did not allow it to be read out loud, but said a copy would be given to Bacon.
In the letter, Skrepenski said he still wonders “how and why” Bacon killed Avery, why she did not ask for help.
“I can’t speak for everyone in this courtroom, but I can and will be the voice of Avery, and I know that deep down he has already forgiven you because Avery didn’t know how to hate; he didn’t know how to be mad at anyone!” he wrote. “All Avery knew how to do in his short, wonderful life was to love.”
Skrepenski’s daughter, Heaven Bowles, remembered Avery as a happy baby who she thought of as a little brother.
“He was always smiling. He was just so content, so observant,” she said. “He always had his eyes open, watching around him.”
Toledo police Detective Kermit Quinn said the case was one of the toughest, most emotional homicides he has investigated.
“This involved a 6-month-old defenseless child who paid the ultimate price,” he said. “I believe that it was because his mother lost control. There is no doubt in my mind that she did this crime — no doubt in my mind at all.”
He said investigators were able to rule out Mr. Jones as a suspect because his story checked out, while Bacon “buried herself” in the lies she began telling the moment she finally brought her son to the hospital early on Dec. 17. He died the next day.
“One thing about it, you can’t remember the lies that you tell,” Detective Quinn said. “You change your story like she did several times, and it just came back to bite her.”
Her attorney, Spiros Cocoves, said Bacon maintains her innocence and “plans on appealing to the fullest extent that the law will permit her. She has not changed her position from when she first pled not guilty back in December .”
Judge McDonald ordered that Bacon remain in the Lucas County jail until she is interviewed by the Lucas County Adult Probation Department and evaluated by the Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center.
“The sentence in this case is mandatory,” Judge McDonald said. “I have no discretion, but I think that this information could be helpful to the Parole Board in making its determination at some later date.”
He gave Bacon credit for the 494 days she already has spent in jail and ordered that she pay all court costs upon her release from prison.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: email@example.com or 419-213-2134.