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Life sentence handed down in Westgate infant death

Life sentence handed down in Westgate infant death

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Dean Alan Hettinger during a pre-trial hearing in Fayette County District Court in West Union on Sept. 9, 2019.

WEST UNION -- A former Westgate man has been sentenced to prison for killing an infant in 2018.

Judge Joel Dalrymple sentenced Dean Alan Hettinger, 24, to life in prison without parole during a Monday hearing in Fayette County District Court in West Union. He was also ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to the child's estate

The life sentence is the mandatory punishment for first-degree murder under Iowa law.

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Dean Alan Hettinger in Fayette County District Court in West Union in September 2019.

A separate sentence for a charge of child endangerment causing death was merged into the murder sentence.

Authorities said Hettinger and his then-girlfriend were looking after her relative’s 4-week-old infant, Holton Patrick Smith, in April 2018 when the child became unresponsive and was taken to the hospital.

Physicians found a brain bleed and multiple rib fractures. The child died about a month later, and Hettinger was arrested in May 2019.

A former Westgate man has been sentenced to prison for killing an infant in 2018. Judge Joel Dalrymple sentenced Dean Alan Hettinger, 24, to life in prison without parole during a Monday hearing in Fayette County District Court in West Union. The life sentence is the mandatory punishment for first-degree murder under Iowa law.

During a March 2020 trial, doctors said they determined the injuries weren’t accidental and were consistent with inflicted trauma, and a jury found him guilty.

Hettinger’s defense attorney had attempted to overturn the verdict, arguing there wasn’t any evidence as to how and when the fatal injuries occurred.

Hettinger is also awaiting trial for allegedly threatening to kill another ex-girlfriend while he was out on bond awaiting trial for the murder case.

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