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Published: Friday, 6/20/2003

Father admits shaking infant to death in Putnam County

OTTAWA, OHIO - A Putnam County father accused of shaking his 5-month-old son to death pleaded guilty yesterday to two felonies stemming from the incident.

Ricky Daniels, 23, of Columbus Grove withdrew an earlier plea of not guilty by reason of insanity and pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child endangering in connection with the April 1 death of his son, Trey.

The baby died from shaken baby syndrome, which occurs when an infant is shaken so violently that the brain is damaged, causing internal bleeding. The child's left arm also was twisted and broken.

Daniels, who was alone with Trey when the incident occurred, called emergency crews early on March 30 saying his son was not breathing, and the baby later died at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Toledo.

In April, a Putnam County grand jury indicted Daniels on charges of murder, child endangering, and felonious assault.

Daniels admitted in Common Pleas Court yesterday that he was drunk at the time. Because of the previous insanity plea, Judge Randall Basinger questioned him at length before accepting his plea.

The defendant faces three to 18 years in prison for the crimes, and Prosecutor Kurt Sahloff said he will ask the court to impose the maximum sentence.

Daniels's attorney, William Kluge, said he will ask for a lighter sentence.

He told the court he wanted his client to plead no-contest which would have allowed for an appeal, but the prosecutor's office would not accept a no-contest plea.

Judge Basinger ordered a presentence investigation but did not set a date for Daniels' sentencing. Daniels remains behind bars in the Putnam County Jail.

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