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Tucker sentenced to 25 years

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

A Huntington father will serve 25 years in prison and ten years on probation, after he admitted to shaking his 2-month-old daughter multiple times leading up to her death, according to court records.

Kevin Neal Tucker faced a Level 1 felony charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and a Level 1 felony charge of aggravated battery, according to a probable cause affidavit. Tucker pleaded guilty to aggravated battery in exchange for the dismissal of the neglect of a dependent charge.

Huntington County Prosecuting Attorney Amy Richison said although Circuit Court Judge Gavin Smith didn’t impose the amount of executed time she requested, which was 30 years, she accepts his decision and respects “that a judge, not a prosecutor, ultimately determines a defendant’s sentence.”

Richison ran on a reelection platform to continue protecting the victims of crimes against children.

“I am always saddened and disturbed when a child dies because of violence,” Richison said. “I will never comprehend how anyone can kill a child. I mourn the loss of this precious infant.”

The neglect of a dependent charges were dropped because Richison said double jeopardy prevents a defendant from being convicted of multiple crimes based on the same set of facts.

“The charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in death was based upon the same facts as the aggravated battery resulting in death charge, which Mr. Tucker was convicted of, so he could not have been convicted of both crimes.” Richison said.

Both charges carried the same penalties, since both were Level 1 felonies. Level 1 felony convictions carry a possible sentence between 20 and 40 years in prison, with the advisory sentence being 30 years, according to Indiana Code. 

Police say Tucker admitted to shaking the infant multiple times and throwing her from her crib to his bed because she was crying, causing him to lose his temper, according to the probable cause affidavit.

On March 27, 2018, the child was pronounced dead, with the cause of death determined to be blunt force trauma, and Tucker was the sole caregiver during the incident, according to the affidavit.

Tucker initially told police the child rolled out of bed and hit her head, but the investigation found that Tucker searched shaken baby syndrome on the internet before calling 911, according to police reports.