CLOSINGS: View Closings

Chickasaw Co. man convicted in death of infant found in swing

Zachary Koehn and Cheyanne Harris are accused of murder in connection with the death of their son, Sterling Koehn. Zachary Koehn and Cheyanne Harris are accused of murder in connection with the death of their son, Sterling Koehn.

Koehn had blamed his son's mother for the death of 4-month-old Sterling Koehn, who died in August 2017. A trial is pending for 21-year-old mother, Cheyanne Harris.

Posted: Nov. 6, 2018 3:26 PM
Updated: Nov. 6, 2018 8:22 PM

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder in the death of his infant son who was found in a maggot-infested baby swing last year.

Jurors took less than an hour to convict Zachary Paul Koehn, 29, of Alta Vista, of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports . The murder conviction carries a mandatory prison sentence of life without parole.

Koehn had blamed his son's mother for the death of 4-month-old Sterling Koehn. A trial is pending for the 21-year-old mother, Cheyanne Harris.

Koehn and Harris were arrested after medics were called to an Alta Vista apartment on Aug. 30, 2017, and found the infant dead in a swing in a dark, sweltering back bedroom. An autopsy showed he'd died of malnutrition, dehydration and an E. coli infection caused by being left in a maggot-infested diaper for up to two weeks.

Koehn's defense team had argued that he had entrusted care of the baby to Harris, saying he had been working 70 to 80 hours a week as a trucker to provide for his family. His attorneys said Koehn simply failed to notice signs that Harris may have been suffering from depression, which kept her from caring for the baby.

But prosecutors argued that Koehn was a meth user who also provided Harris with drugs.

Assistant Attorney General Denise Timmins told jurors that Koehn was home often enough to know that the baby wasn't being cared for and did nothing to help him.

"He let Sterling rot in that room. He left him there to die," Timmins said.

Koehn's trial was moved from Chickasaw County to Henry County to counter pretrial publicity in the case.

Article Comments

Mason City
Overcast
24° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 9°
Albert Lea
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 8°
Feels Like: 10°
Austin
Overcast
28° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 10°
Feels Like: 18°
Charles City
Overcast
27° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 10°
Feels Like: 13°
Rochester
Overcast
26° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 12°
Snow may be tapering off, but winds and blowing snow will continue into the night.
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Snow affects appointments

Image

Sled giveaway

Image

Surf Ballroom nominated as the Best Small Venue

Image

Icicles could be a sign of a hidden danger

Image

Getting out of the snow

Image

New Austin Police Chief sworn in

Image

Snow Emergency Parking Ordinance in Austin

Image

Tracking Heavy Snow This Morning

Image

Tow plow giving MNDOT extra help

Image

Sen. Grassley visits Hampton

Community Events