Ogden, who killed his infant daughter, gets plea deal
December 1, 2016
Initially charged with first-degree murder, Matthew Ogden, arrested in 2015 in connection to the death of his month-old daughter, pleaded guilty last week to reckless child abuse resulting in death.
That's a class 2 felony with a plea deal stipulation for sentencing to prison for 30 to 40 years. Under the original first-degree murder charge, Ogden was facing life in prison.
He was arrested in the death of his daughter, Sarah Ogden, after his wife, Phyllis Wyatt, told investigators that she awoke either late June 19 or early June 20, 2015, see her husband holding their newborn by the waist, yelling and shaking her violently, according to police. He took her into the next room, she said, where she continued to hear shouting, pounding and thumping.
Wyatt told authorities she stayed in bed while this was happening. She said that when Ogden came back into the bedroom with the baby, Sarah wasn't crying anymore, and Wyatt rolled over and went back to sleep.
Emergency workers arriving at the couple’s Parachute apartment the next morning could not revive the infant.
Causes of death were later found to be a fractured skull, hemorrhaging to Sarah's brain and a lacerated liver.
District Attorney Sherry Caloia called it a fair and harsh deal for Ogden, one that takes into account the infant's death but that also takes into account that Ogden didn't intend that result.
This plea also has precedent across the state in similar cases where there's been a child death and what led up to that is not really clear, Caloia said.
Some of the medical information about the cause of Sarah's death is conflicting, so it's hard to pin down exactly what happened, she said.
"We don't have a real clear understanding of what happened that day … whether this was some sort of accident, whether it was a reckless act or whether it was done intentionally. And I don't think we could have proved that it was done intentionally," said the district attorney.
"Ogden is genuinely remorseful and will be sentenced to a very stiff sentence."
Caloia lost her re-election bid in the November election but said that result did not play into the plea deal.
This plea deal was in the works and accepted before the election, she said. Getting Ogden into a courtroom to enter the plea before the judge was delayed because the judge was out of town, said Caloia.
Ogden and Wyatt fled Colorado shortly after being interviewed by police. Sarah had a twin brother who was not injured in the incident and was taken from the couple, who were arrested in northern Minnesota and brought back to Colorado to face charges.
Wyatt pleaded guilty to criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death and was sentenced in February to eight years in prison.
During court proceedings, investigators said the couple had moved to Colorado from California because they feared losing custody of the newborns over their marijuana use, she said.
Wyatt's defense attorney said Ogden is diagnosed with schizophrenia. One witness reported that before Sarah's death, Ogden had said the voices in his head wanted him to hurt the babies, said the defense attorney.
Ogden's sentencing hearing was scheduled for Feb. 3.