Fayette County man receives life sentence in murder of four-week-old boy

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 4:14 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A judge in Fayette County sentenced a man to life in prison on Monday, according to court documents.

Dean Alan Hettinger, 24, of Westgate, received the sentence after being found guilty in early March of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. First-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence in Iowa.

Four-week-old Holten Smith was hospitalized in Sumner on April 29, 2018, with the child’s caretakers, including Hettinger, saying that he had been suffering from seizures. Smith was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where he later died on May 27, 2018.

The initial criminal complaint for murder against Hettinger said that doctors at UIHC identified that Smith had brain bleeding. An autopsy conducted the day after Smith died found 36 rib fractures, which doctors said were consistent with those caused by inflicted trauma.

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