WEST UNION, Iowa – The trial of a man accused of killing a baby will remain in Fayette County.
Dean Alan Hettinger, 23 of Westgate, was arrested in May and charged with 1st degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. Prosecutors say Hettinger was taking care of four-month-old Holten Smith when the child suffered 36 rib fractures and brain injuries.
Holten was taken to the hospital in April 2018 after suffering seizures and died a month later.
Hettinger asked the judge to move his trial to another county due to a Facebook post by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office. According to court documents, the post “included details about the incident that went beyond the four corners of the complaint.” Hettinger argued that since more than 14,000 people either “liked” or shared that post on social media, it would be hard to get a fair and impartial jury in Fayette County.
That motion to change venues has now been denied. The judge ruled that since there is no way to know if the people who “liked” or shared the post actually live in Fayette County and no way to determine how any Fayette County residents may have been influenced by it, Hettinger failed to prove his trial needs to be moved to another county.
No trial date has been set.