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Published: Saturday, 4/26/2003

Toledoan gets prison for killing baby boy

A 21-year-old Toledo man who killed his girlfriend's 14-month-old son by violently shaking him was sentenced yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to seven years in prison.

Brandon L. Batdorf, of 5315 Lewis Ave., Lot 4, was sentenced by Judge James Jensen for the death of Collin Fowler. Batdorf pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and was convicted March 24. He could have been sentenced to 10 years.

Collin died Dec. 15 in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center from head injuries that were consistent with shaken-baby syndrome, which is caused by a violent shaking of the head.

He had been taken to the hospital two days earlier after he was found unconscious in Batdorf's mobile home. Collin's mother, Britnee Fowler, 17, was dating the defendant at the time and left her son in his care.

At the sentencing, Ms. Fowler held a framed photo of her son and a stuffed bear and baby blanket that belonged to him. She and other relatives, including the baby's grandparents and aunts, cried during the hearing.

Ms. Fowler sobbed as she told the judge that her life was forever changed because she left her son with a “monster,” who “betrayed my trust by doing the unthinkable by violently shaking my baby to death.”

Batdorf was the third person in the last two weeks sentenced in Common Pleas Court for the death of a baby.

Last week, Thomas Hoskinson and his former girlfriend, Rachael Searcy, were sentenced for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Searcy's daughter.

Delia Searcy, 15 months, died Nov. 26 as a result of a blood clot in her lung caused by complications from a broken arm, the Lucas County Coroner's Office said. She also had a broken leg and rib, head injuries, and abdominal trauma. Tests showed she had ingested cocaine shortly before she died.

Hoskinson, 25, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, four counts of felonious assault, and possession of cocaine. Searcy, 22, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangering, and received a four-year sentence.

Batdorf, who initially denied hurting the baby when interviewed by police, said that he would do anything to turn back the clock and relive that day. In apologizing to Ms. Fowler and her family, he said: “I don't think I will ever be able to forgive myself for what happened.”

Judge Jensen said the maximum 10 years that Batdorf could have received would not have been a long enough sentence to satisfy some family members.

“There is no sentence I can impose that will soothe and relieve the pain and suffering,” he said.

Judge Jensen said two misdemeanor convictions for domestic violence in Batdorf's past indicated he had the propensity for violent behavior, and that he should have called someone or sought help before he shook the baby.

“There is no reason for causing the death of a 14-month-old child,” the judge said.

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