Plea Deal Reached In Baby's Death From Head Injury - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Plea Deal Reached In Baby's Death From Head Injury

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A woman has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child endangering for causing the death of her boyfriend's child.

Under a plea agreement with Summit County prosecutors, Leigh A. Postalwait will face a maximum of 10 years in prison when she is sentenced May 30. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dismissed a charge of murder that carries a sentence of 15 years to life.

Police had alleged that Postalwait, 21, used a blunt object to strike the head of 13-month-old Ashley Kirk last Sept. 19, putting the child into a coma. Ashley was removed from life support systems two days later.

Postalwait's attorneys, Edward Bonetti and Brian Pierce, abandoned pre-trial attempts to suppress Postalwait's admission to detectives that she handled the child roughly when she placed her in a crib while rushing to the bathroom.

"Based on the evidence, we felt, as did Leigh, that it was in her best interest to accept responsibility for her role in this tragedy," Pierce said.

Outside the court, Postalwait's family reaffirmed their contention that the child was sickly at birth and that Postalwait never would harm Ashley or her sister, 3-year-old Star.

Postalwait and Ashley's father, Larry Kirk, had said the child suffered from a brittle-bone condition.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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