Sunday, 4 December 2011

SBS: Washington: Mark Stanger loses second child, faces second manslaugher charge

OKANOGAN — An Okanogan man who was acquitted of shaking his six-month-old daughter to death 11 years ago is now charged with letting his nine-month-old son drown in a bathtub this summer.
Mark A. Stanger, 34, was charged in Okanogan County Superior Court Nov. 18 with first-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors say he recklessly caused the death of his son, Marcel, who was flown to Sacred Heart Medical Center on July 17 after nearly drowning in the family’s bathtub at 237 Spruce St.
Marcel died at the Spokane hospital a month later.
A preliminary autopsy found that Marcel died of asphyxia due to partial drowning, according to a report by Okanogan County Sheriff’s detective Debbie Behymer, filed with the charges.
According to that report:
Stanger told deputies that he put his son in the tub in about 6 inches of water at about 3:30 p.m. He then yelled up to his Marcel’s mother, Lanni — who was upstairs and on medications due to a vehicle accident — that Marcel was in the tub and she needed to take care of him. He told deputies he went into the living room to watch television, and fell asleep. When Lanni woke him up about 15 or 20 minutes later asking where Marcel was, he ran to the bathroom to find him limp, lying on his back in the water. When deputies asked why there was no water in the tub, he told them that he had drained it after finding Marcel.
The preliminary autopsy found no physical injuries, the report said.
The charges come 13 years after Stanger lost a baby girl, Mercedes Chapa, who was also flown to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane following injuries she received while under Stanger’s care.
He told authorities that his daughter fell off their bed while he was cleaning their Riverside apartment. He was later charged with first-degree manslaughter after the Spokane County medical examiner found the baby died of shaken infant syndrome.
But an Okanogan County jury found him not guilty in December 2000. Stanger’s Spokane attorney, Bevan Maxey, said at the time that the jury told him there was insufficient proof to convict Stanger of either first- or second-degree manslaughter.
“The evidence indicated he was a good father, a loving father,” Maxey told The Wenatchee World after the verdict, adding “One can only imagine what it would feel like to lose a child, to be blamed for it, and then to face the potential of getting wrongfully prosecuted.”
K.C. Mehaffey: 997-2512

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