NEW HAMPTON, IA (AP/Gray News) - An Iowa woman, whose 4-month-old son’s lifeless body was found in a baby swing in 2017, was sentenced to life in prison after a jury found her guilty in her son’s death.
Court records say 21-year-old Cheyanne Harris was sentenced Tuesday to the state-mandated penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the charges of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death.
Harris’ request for a new trial was denied.
The charges stemmed from the death of Harris’ son, 4-month-old Sterling Koehn, whose body was found Aug. 30, 2017, in a sweltering bedroom at his parents’ apartment in Alta Vista, IA.
“She deserves it. I don’t understand how she can sit emotionless like that. I was tearing up in there, and I saw nothing from her,” said Kim Theis, an Iowa resident who followed the case but had no connection to the infant or his family, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.
Theis organized a candlelight vigil for Sterling after news of his parents’ arrest spread in the fall of 2017. She is currently working to change laws regarding drug testing at birth and plans to set up a park bench in Sterling’s memory.
“I felt that somebody needed to make sure this baby is remembered,” Theis told the Courier.
When Sterling was found, he was wearing a maggot-infested diaper and weighed under 7 pounds, WHO reports. Investigators determined he had been wearing that diaper for at least 10 days.
An autopsy shows the baby died of malnutrition, dehydration and an E. coli infection.
Sterling’s father, Zachary Koehn, also has been sentenced to life in prison. He was found guilty of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death back in November.