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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Amanda Skogen

Baby sitter pleads guilty to manslaughter

A baby sitter who pushed a 3-year-old Post Falls boy, resulting in a fatal head injury, pleaded guilty Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter.

Amanda L. Skogen, 26, faces up to 15 years in prison when she’s sentenced early next year in Kootenai County District Court. Skogen pleaded guilty this afternoon and had her $1 million bond reduced to $100,000, said Post Falls Police Chief Scot Haug.

“We’re pleased to see some resolution to this case,” Haug said.

Prosecutors says Skogen was on her knees when she violently shoved Cohen Johnson on Oct. 4, causing him to fall back and hit his head.

She confessed to shoving the boy after he wet his pants and reportedly told police: “I hurt a poor little defenseless boy … And it was all my fault.

Prosecutors sought a first-degree murder charge against Skogen, which is punishable by up to life in prison or the death penalty, but Magistrate Judge Clark Peterson ruled earlier this month that involuntary manslaughter was the appropriate charge.

But Skogen and prosecutors agreed to a deal in which she pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, which carries a possible extra five years in prison, said Prosecutor Barry McHugh.

Baby sitter charged w/ manslaughter

A baby sitter accused of killing a 3-year-old Post Falls boy will be charged with involuntary manslaughter, a judge ruled this week.

Kootenai County prosecutors had sought to charge Amanda L. Skogen, 26, with first-degree murder, punishable by up to life in prison or the death penalty. 

But First District Court Magistrate Judge Clark A. Peterson ruled Wednesday that while Skogen’s actions had “incredibly grievous” consequences, they did not amount to murder.

Prosecutors say Skogen was on her knees when she violently shoved Cohen Johnson on Oct. 4, causing him to fall back and hit his head.

She confessed to shoving the boy after he wet his pants and reportedly told police: “I hurt a poor little defenseless boy … And it was all my fault.”

Idaho law allows for a first-degree murder charge if the death occurred in the course of aggravated battery on a child under 12, but Peterson questioned whether Skogen’s actions before Cohen’s death constituted aggravated battery.

Involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Past coverage:

Oct. 12: Baby sitter in boy’s death: ‘It was all my fault’

Oct. 11: Idaho baby sitter jailed on murder charges

Idaho baby sitter: ‘It was all my fault’

A Post Falls baby sitter accused of murdering a 3-year-old boy told police after failing a polygraph test, “I hurt a poor little defenseless boy … And it was all my fault,” documents released Tuesday say.

Amanda L. Skogen, 25, remains in Kootenai County Jail on $1 million bail after appearing in First District Court on a first-degree murder charge Tuesday.

Skogen replied “uh, yes,” when asked if she understood the charge against her, which is punishable by up to life in prison or the death penalty.

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said Skogen is a flight risk and emphasized that while she cooperated with investigators, she didn’t confess until she failed the polygraph exam.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

Oct. 11: Baby sitter jailed on murder charges

Baby sitter jailed on murder charge

A 25-year-old baby sitter accused of murder declined to speak with investigators after her arrest Friday and has asked for an attorney. 

Amanda L. Skogen has no criminal history and was never suspected of abuse before 3-year-old Cohen Johnson suffered a traumatic head injury that led to his death last week. Cohen died at a Spokane hospital Friday and Skogen, a family friend who had been watching the boy since June, was arrested on a first-degree murder charge.

She’s being held without bail at the Kootenai County Jail and is expected to appear in court Tuesday. (I’ll be talking to TV pundit Nancy Grace about the case tonight at 5:30 p.m. Here’s a clip from my previous appearance.)

Skogen called 911 last Monday about 4:30 p.m. to report Cohen unresponsive and not breathing. She lied to investigators about what happened but eventually confessed Tuesday afternoon to shoving the boy to the ground after he wet his pants, said Post Falls Police Chief Scot Haug.

Cohen’s 2-year-old sister was present at the time.

“This is not a freak accident or fluke,” Haug said. “This is somebody who acted out of anger, shoved a child and caused his death.”

Skogen had cared for the boy since June. Her husband apparently knows the boy’s father from high school, Haug said.

Cohen’s parents are separated, and Skogen had been caring for him at her home on North Elm Road since about June while his parents worked during the day. Cohen apparently wet his pants while on Skogen’s couch, which angered her, Haug said.

Haug said the boy “flew across the room” and hit the back of his head on a concrete floor. He was taken to Kootenai Medical Center, where a CT scan revealed a bleeding skull fracture. He was airlifted to Providence Sacred Heart in Spokane, where he was pronounced dead Friday at 1:21 p.m. Skogen was arrested shortly after.

Under Idaho law, homicides involving children under 12 are to be charged as first-degree murder.

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