Baby sitter sentenced to 21 years in prison in baby death
A woman who was babysitting her friend’s infant was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison for killing the child, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.
Jennifer Baldwin, 38, of Brooklyn Center was sentenced to 255 months in prison by Hennepin County District Court Judge Jamie Anderson Monday afternoon. Baldwin, who declined to speak in court, was found guilty by a jury on June 21 on two counts of unintentional second-degree murder after deliberating for less than two hours.
The sentence was significantly above that recommended by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. Judge Anderson was able to make that upward departure because the jury also found aggravating circumstances in the death of Colton Senogles, including that his age of nine months made him vulnerable, he could not flee, he could not call for help and he could not protect himself.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Paige Starkey asked for 360 months in prison, noting that Colton died of a “catastrophic head injury. Every minute counts. The brain was swelling inside the skull.” Instead, Baldwin called other people, including Colton’s mother, before finally calling 911.
Baldwin’s attorney argued that the sentencing guidelines presumptive sentence of 150 months in prison would be a fair outcome and she is the mother of four children.
“It’s no question it is tragic for your children to grow up without their mother,” Judge Anderson said. “But you were found guilty of two counts of murder and that changes everything.”
According to the criminal complaint and evidence in the trial, on March 15, 2018 at 11:46 a.m., Baldwin called 911 and Brooklyn Center police and paramedics went to her house to find Colton laboring to breathe. She told police that Colton’s mother dropped Colton off about an hour earlier.
The baby died in the hospital five days later. Initially, Baldwin said she had no idea what happened to Colton, but when confronted with the autopsy results, admitted she handled the baby aggressively.
Logan Senogles and four other relatives gave victim impact statements Monday. He detailed how his life, and the life of his girlfriend, Caitlin, Colton’s mother, have spiraled downward.
“She murdered my family that day,” Senogles said of Baldwin. “Not just Colton but Caitlin and me. Colton just got the blunt end of it.”
He said the couple had a full house with Colton and two dogs and he was saving up to buy a house for them and then ask Caitlin to marry him.
“I now live all by myself and the days are a blur,” Senogles said. “I have nothing I want to work for and I have turned into someone no one wants to be around. I want her to do the maximum time allowed.”
Criminal Complaint (PDF)