Guilty of child endangerment resulting in death

MASON CITY, Iowa - The week-long trial of Kenneth Adams comes to an end as a jury of 12 find the man guilty of child endangerment leading to the death of his 19-month old son, Owen.

Adams faced charges after police were called to the Mason City home back in October of 2012, to find an infant unresponsive on the floor.

In a case full of emotion and tragedy, the closing arguments in the trial of Kenneth Adams focused on the burden of reasonable doubt.

Attorneys say there was little debate about three of the four elements needed to be proven by the state.

As for the fourth, the defense says there was not enough evidence to prove Adams had knowledge of the risks behind his actions.

“There is reasonable doubt. The state has not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Because if they haven’t proven element number three about what Ken knew, they haven’t met their burden of proof,” Susan Flanders, Defense Attorney for Kenneth Adams.

On the other hand, the state says, common sense plays a major role in preventing these tragic events.

“It’s knowing. Did he know what he was doing created a substantial risk. Folks, you did not leave your common sense at the door when you walked in here. The bare bones facts of this case is that the defendant is trying to tell you that he didn’t know that putting his child face down on the pillow was dangerous,” said Blake Norman, Assistant Cerro Gordo County Attorney.

By noon, it took the jury no more than 40 minutes to come up with a verdict.

“Form of verdict number one, we find the defendant guilty of child endangerment resulting in death,” said Judge Gregg Rosenbladt of the Cerro Gordo County Courthouse.

An emotional courtroom watched as one by one each juror confirmed their vote.

For Assistant County Attorney, Blake Norman, there is no clear winner in a case with so much being lost.

“The verdict does not bring Owen back. The fact that the defendant was found guilty does not change that fact, so really, no party wins in this case. We feel that justice was done though for Owen and that’s what was important to us,” said Norman.

Changes made by Iowa legislators are enhancing the Class “B” felony to what some attorney’s are calling a “Super B”.

This makes the once mandatory 25-year sentence for this crime, now 50-years behind bars.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 8.

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