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.
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.
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.