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29-year-old man convicted for his role in killing his 3-week-old baby

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CLAY COUNTY, Mo.  -- A Richmond, Mo., man was convicted on Friday for his role in killing his 3-week-old baby, who died August 17, 2012, as a result of blunt force trauma to her chest and abdomen that lacerated her heart and liver.

Dennis Matthews, 29, of Richmond, was convicted for his role in killing his 3-week-old baby.

Dennis Matthews, 29, of Richmond, was convicted for his role in killing his 3-week-old baby.

Dennis Matthews, 29, was found guilty of seven felony counts -- one count of abuse of a child resulting in death, two counts of abuse of a child and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree.

After the death of the baby, doctors determined that she had multiple fractured ribs that were in various stages of healing. Doctors testified at trial that the numerous fractures to the infant’s ribs were consistent with the infant being squeezed. Matthews was convicted of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree for failing to get medical care for the infant when she stopped breathing after her ribs were fractured.

Matthews was also convicted of abuse of a child for his role in breaking the arm of his 8-month-old son.

Additionally, Matthews was also convicted of three counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree for his role in failing to provide the children with adequate milk, formula or food, causing severe malnutrition.

Matthews still faces trial on three additional counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree for putting his children at risk by not properly caging his reptiles, which included alligators, savannah monitor lizards, large pythons and boa constrictors, in his Richmond, Missouri home.

The jury recommended the maximum sentence on all seven counts. He will be sentenced in November and faces the possibility of a life sentence on abuse of a child resulting in death, and the possibility of an additional 42 years on the other seven counts.

“Two innocent babies endured unimaginable pain and starvation at the hands of Dennis Matthews,” Attorney General Chris Koster said in a news release. “He deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison for these crimes.”

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