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Tot’s death: a sentence of 30 days

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OGDEN, Utah — Medical complications in a shaken-baby syndrome case led to a plea bargain and a 30-day jail sentence for a South Ogden man charged in the death of his girlfriend's child.

Justin Jay Scott, 26, was sentenced Thursday in the Jan. 29, 1999, death of 17-month-old Karston Sampson.

He pleaded in June to a second-degree felony count of child abuse homicide, reduced from a first-degree felony homicide charge.

The prosecution, defense attorney Ron Yengich and 2nd District Judge Parley Baldwin worked out the details of the plea bargain in what all sides admitted was a difficult case.

The child had a number of pre-existing medical problems that complicated the investigation.

Scott told police he was helping the boy with his physical therapy when the infant suddenly "stiffened" and began having trouble breathing.

Yengich said his client shook the child after he stopped breathing.

"It was not intentional, but it was reckless, in that he had a conscious disregard of a known risk," Yengich said.

Scott's guilty plea was an "Alford plea," which allows him to file a memo in the case saying he is not admitting guilt, but instead avoiding the risk of trial on a more serious charge.

The mother of the child still doesn't believe Scott killed her child, and the two have since married, Yengich said.

Baldwin ordered Scott to undergo counseling for anger management, parenting, victim empathy, attitude restructuring and family group therapy.