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Trial date set for mother of baby left to die in a 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.

Father convicted of murder wants a new trial.

Posted: Nov 29, 2018 8:13 PM

NEW HAMPTON, Iowa – A trial date has been set for the mother of the child found dead in a baby swing, while the father is asking for a new trial.

Cheyanne Renae Harris, 21 of Riceville, is now scheduled to stand trial on 1st degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death in Plymouth County on January 29, 2019. Court documents say the trial is expected to last six or seven days.


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

Harris and Zachary Paul Koehn, 29 of Riceville, were arrested for the death of their four-month-old son, Sterling Koehn. The baby was found dead in a swing in an Alta Vista Apartment on August 30, 2017. An autopsy found the baby died of malnutrition, dehydration, and an E. coli infection caused by being left in a maggot-infested diaper for up to two weeks.

Koehn was found guilty of 1st degree murder and child endangerment causing death on November 6, 2018. His trial was moved to Henry County because of publicity around this case.

His defense lawyers have now filed a motion seeking a new trial. They argue that to be convicted of murder, prosecutors had to prove Koehn “caused or directly contributed” to his infant son’s death. The motion argues there is no evidence Koehn intentionally starved, dehydrated, or otherwise caused his son’s death and at most, the evidence only proves Koehn “allowed” the baby to die.

The motion also argues the evidence at trial showed Koehn relied on Harris to feed their child and change his diapers and that Koehn was buying items to care for the baby until shortly before his death, demonstrating “an interest in and concern for the life of his child.”

Koehn is due to be sentenced on December 4 in Chickasaw County. No hearing date has been set on his motion for a new trial.

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