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Man guilty of killing baby boy.

Byline: Matt Cooper The Register-Guard

A 20-year-old man was convicted of first-degree manslaughter Friday in Douglas County Circuit Court in the death last year of his live-in girlfriend's 7-month-old boy.

Christopher John Gonsalves of Reedsport will face a mandatory 10-year sentence under Measure 11, Assistant District Attorney Bill Marshall said. A sentencing date has not been scheduled yet.

Gonsalves was 19 when he was arrested in April 2003 on charges of murder by abuse and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Codi Nathaniel Lee Jones.

The boy was the son of Gonsalves' girlfriend, Mickie Harer, by a previous relationship. She left the boy with Gonsalves while she went for groceries and returned to find the boy battered and not breathing.

Gonsalves said he accidentally dropped the baby and then, in an effort to revive him, struck his head on a cement floor and hit and slapped him, Marshall said.

Gonsalves' attorney did not return a phone call Friday for comment, and Gonsalves could not be reached.

Court records show that Gonsalves also pleaded guilty in January 2003 to driving under the influence of intoxicants and misdemeanor charges of recklessly endangering another. He was sentenced in Douglas County Circuit Court to 10 days in jail, and the judge revoked his driver's license for a year.

During the trial on the boy's death, Gonsalves waived his right to a jury and Judge Thomas Kolberg found him guilty after five days of testimony.

While murder is defined as an intentional act to cause the death of another, first-degree manslaughter is defined as recklessly manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, Marshall said.

The boy's death saddened workers at the state Department of Human Services who had been working with the mother in recent months.

In 2003, 14 Oregon children died as a result of abuse or neglect. DHS recorded 21 deaths in 2002, eight deaths in 2001, 21 deaths in 2000 and 18 deaths in 1999. There were 36 deaths in 1995, the highest in the past decade.
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Title Annotation:Crime; A Reedsport man faces 10 years in prison for manslaughter
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 18, 2004
Previous Article:FOR THE RECORD.
Next Article:BRIEFLY.

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