HASTINGS, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota day care provider pleaded guilty Monday to felony manslaughter in the August 2011 death of a baby in her care.
Beverly Greenagel, 66, entered her plea in Dakota County, a week before the case was set to go to trial. She could spend as much as a month in jail under a plea agreement.
Greenagel was the sole licensed child care provider at her house in Eagan on the day that 3-month-old Dane Ableidinger died while napping in a bedroom, the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1eIqOel ) reported.
Investigators concluded that the baby had been face down on a fluffy blanket on the floor —a violation of safe-sleep guidelines — and suffocated. His official cause of death is listed as "probable positional asphyxia."
Prosecutors said Greenagel told investigators she put the baby down for a nap in a crib, but later changed her story and said she placed the infant on a folded blanket on the floor. The baby was later found unresponsive.
State child care authorities later found that Greenagel was caring for more children than safely allowed under child care regulations.
Greenagel initially was charged with two felonies, plus three misdemeanors related to child endangerment and concealing evidence.
Her attorney, Earl Gray, said Greenagel suffered stress as the trial date neared and was worried about a longer jail sentence. She could have received up to four years if a jury had found her guilty.
Experts on her behalf were scheduled to challenge the cause of death, Gray said.
"I still don't believe the child died of positional asphyxia, but you know what, I'm not the one going to prison if we lose," he said.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com