The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 5, 2012

Lamar man sentenced in shaken-baby death

By Jeff Lehr
jlehr@joplinglobe.com

— A Lamar man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the February death of a 4-month-old boy and has  been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Jonathan D. Rector, 28, had been facing a charge of second-degree murder in the shaken-baby death of Kaiden Stevens.

Rector pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter at a hearing Monday in Barton County Circuit Court and was assessed the prison term by Circuit Judge James Bickel. His plea deal with the prosecutor’s office waived his right to a sentencing-assessment report and capped the prison time he might receive at 15 years.

Emergency medical technicians were called Feb. 17 to a residence in the 700 block of West Eighth Street in Lamar regarding a baby who was not breathing. The Stevens boy initially was taken to Barton County Memorial Hospital and then flown to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, where he died three days later.

Rector, who was babysitting the infant at the time, admitted to investigators that he had shaken the boy in a fit of rage.