TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — A Lafayette man has been sentenced to 39 years after suffocating his baby due to co-sleeping.
Court documents state the baby was found not breathing between two couch cushions while co-sleeping with Brandon Staggs, the baby’s father, in June 2015.
Due to an ongoing investigation with Child Protective Services, Staggs was not even allowed to be caring for his baby at the time. But at the time of the incident, the baby’s mother, Sara Martin, was in the hospital for a heroin overdose.
The child was left with Staggs at his home on Virginia Street. Staggs said he fell asleep on the couch with the baby and a friend woke him to tell him his child was no longer breathing.
Documents reveal police found meth, heroin and marijuana throughout the house, including in a child’s bedroom.
Staggs faced charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and five other drug possession charges.
During his sentencing Monday, Staggs said he’s not a bad person and he’s just made a lot of mistakes. He acknowledged he’s going to pay for those mistakes.
A Tippecanoe County judge sentenced Staggs to 39 years, with 35 years served in the Indiana Department of Corrections, two years in Tippecanoe County Community Corrections and another two years on suspended supervised probation.
This is Staggs second child who has died from co-sleeping. His infant died in 2002 from co-sleeping as well.
The judge also ruled Staggs will have frequent substance evaluations while serving his time.
Martin was sentenced in September to seven years for neglect of a dependent and possession of a narcotic drug.