2017-11-09 / Front Page

Hancock pleads guilty in death of infant son

A 22-year-old Roscommon man has entered a plea in connection with the March, 2016, death of his one-month- old son.

Donny Hancock, lodged in the Roscommon County Jail, was originally charged with first degree homicide mur­der and first degree child abuse, but he pleaded guilty in 34th Circuit Court, Roscommon, Nov. 7, to an amended count of second degree murder and the child abuse charge.

Separate charges of malicious de­struction of fire or police property and possessing a weapon in jail were dis­missed as part of the plea agreement.

The Roscommon County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the March 2, 2016, incident after being called to a home in Backus Township, for what was called in as an unresponsive infant. Upon arriving, EMS and police found the infant in what appeared to be respira­tory distress.

Det. Sgt. John Wybraniec of the sheriff’s office said dur­ing a July, 2016, interview, that during Han­cock’s pre­liminary examination, both he and the baby’s mother, Heather Keene, testified. He said Keene’s testimony seemed to be instrumental as she “admitted that he (Hancock) killed their baby.”

Initially, Hancock told police he “had accidentally smashed the baby’s head into a door jam,” but before a polygraph test was to be performed, he admitted to Wybraniec that he had killed the baby. Hancock said that he had punched the baby in the head with his fist, causing his death, Wybraniec said.

“My testimony was that he had con­fessed to me,” Wybraniec said.

Hancock was denied a change of venue in Circuit Court, and several dates for jury trials were postponed.

Sentencing has been set for Dec. 19 at 9 a.m.

According to the Circuit Court office, the possible sentence is life in prison or any number of years on both the second degree murder charge and the first de­gree child abuse charge.

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