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Jury trial for infant death case canceled

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

A Huntington father, facing charges related to the death of a two-month-old infant, entered into an agreement with prosecutors, yesterday, at a change of plea hearing in Huntington County Circuit Court.

Kevin N. Tucker, 39, is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death and aggravated battery resulting in death, both Level 1 felonies, after police say Tucker admitted that he shook the infant multiple times and thrown her from her crib to his bed because she was crying and he lost his temper, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Huntington County Prosecutor Amy Richison said their department has reached an agreement with Tucker ahead of his jury trial previously scheduled for March 5. Richison said Tucker pleaded guilty to a Level 1 felony charge of aggravated battery, and in exchange for the plea of guilty, prosecutors agreed to cap the initially executed sentence to 30 years.

The court decided to vacate the jury trial and move for sentencing on Feb. 4, 2019 at 8 a.m. in Huntington County Circuit Court. At the sentencing hearing, the court will decide whether it will accept or reject the plea agreement.

On March 27, the infant was pronounced dead, with the cause of death determined to be blunt force trauma. On the night of the alleged incident, Tucker was the sole caregiver of the infant on May 24 starting at around 9 p.m., according to the affidavit.

Tucker initially told police that the child rolled out of bed and hit her head, causing the trauma. He later confessed that wasn’t true.

Police say Tucker searched “shaken baby syndrome” on the internet before calling 911.

Tucker previously claimed to be suffering from mental illness at the time of the alleged incident. The court ordered a psychiatric evaluation, but the results are sealed as “confidential” at this time.

According to court documents, Tucker seemed to be in good mental health in meetings with his counsel.

Tucker is currently being held in custody without bond at the Huntington County Jail. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 4 at 8 a.m.