Jul 28, 2014

Haskel Sentenced to 10 to 20 Years for Murder of Baby in 1992

A jury convicted Melissa Haskel, of Upper Merion, of murdering 5-month-old Ryan Baurley while the child was in her care. Haskel continues to maintain her innocence.

Haskel Sentenced to 10 to 20 Years for Murder of Baby in 1992

According to The Times Herald, on Wednesday, a Montgomery County judge sentenced 39-year-old Melissa Haskel, of Upper Merion, to 10 to 20 years in state prison for the murder of 5-month-old Ryan Baurley in Bridgeport in 1992 while the boy was in her care. 

The infant's death was originally believed to be Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but a follow-up examination by Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Walter I. Hofman, found bruising on the brain and larynx and a high blood alcohol content of 0.04% in the infant's blood. The cause of death was changed to homicide and Haskel was eventually charged.

A jury convicted Haskel of third-degree murder in June of this year. Haskel has maintained her innocence and even refused to let the jury consider a lesser manslaughter charge in the case. She reportedly confessed to the crime, but her attorney claimed Haskell was coerced by her estranged husband while the two were in a custody dispute.

Judge Garrett D. Page told Haskel during sentencing that he did not believe her claim. 

"I reject your maintenance of innocence in this case," Judge Page reportedly said. "The jury has spoken."

The sentence the judge imposed is the maximum allowed under 1992 guidelines.

Read more about the case and the trial here.

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