Grandmother of child of Zachary Koehn gives testimony

Published: Oct. 31, 2018 at 12:55 PM CDT
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More witnesses talked about a lack of care in the case of a four-month-old Chickasaw County boy left in a maggot-infested swing for more than a week. The testimony Wednesday included the victim's grandmother.

Zachary Koehn faces charges of 1st-degree murder and child endangerment in the death of his son Sterling in Alta Vista.

Prosecutors say Koehn and the boy's mother, Cheyanne Harris, left him in a baby swing for 9-14 days with no food, water or other care. The child died from a combination of malnutrition, dehydration, and infection from E-Coli bacteria present in a diaper that may not have been changed for more than a week.

Prosecutors also believe Brandy Harris was the last person outside the immediate family to see Sterling Koehn alive.

But before jurors came in to start the day, a deputy told the judge the grandmother had received death threats on social media based on her expected testimony. The judge ruled her voice, but not her face could be recorded by cameras.

On the stand, she remembered the four-month-old as a small child but in good health.

"He was a relatively happy baby," she said.

Harris took care of Sterling a number of times between his birth May and death in August of 2017.

She said she got a call about Sterling's death at work from her daughter.

"She said they went to check on him and he didn't wake up," Harris said.

Jordan Clark, a trucker who worked with Koehn, also took the stand.

Clark told jurors he did Methamphetamine with both Koehn and Harris at their apartment.

But he said he never knew there was an infant in the house.

He said no one ever mentioned the family's youngest child and he saw no one entering the bedroom to provide care.

After the child died, Clark said the defendant told him to lie about drugs in the apartment if police called.

"Mainly it was if they call don't say anything or stretch the truth," Clark said.

EARLIER STORY---------------------

A trial continued today for a man charged with murder and child endangerment after his four-month-old son was found dead in a maggot-infested swing.

29-year-old Zachary Koehn’s son Sterling Koehn was left in a swing in a dark, stuffy apartment bedroom from anywhere between nine to 14 days before authorities found him in August 2017.

On Tuesday a prosecutor said the boy from Chickasaw County died of diaper rash.

Wednesday Sterling’s grandmother, Brandy Harris, took the stand but the judge put restrictions on public coverage of her testimony. Before the trial began prosecutors said Harris was receiving death threats on social media.

While cameras weren’t allowed during Brandy’s testimony, the judge did allow audio recordings of her testimony.

Brandy’s testimony might be of considerable importance to prosecutors, as she is believed to be the last person outside of the immediate family that saw Sterling alive.

The boy's mother, Cheyanne Harris, who is also charged in the death of her son, faces a separate trial at a later date.