Feb. 6 (UPI) -- An Iowa jury handed down a guilty verdict Wednesday for a 21-year-old woman who left her 4-month-old baby to die of neglect and infection in a maggot-infested diaper.
Cheyanne Harris was convicted of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death after 5 hours of deliberation. The conviction comes two months after the baby's father, Zachary Paul Koehn, 29, was sentenced to life in prison for the death.
Emergency officials found the infant, Sterling Koehn, dead in a mechanical baby swing in the couple's home in August 2017. The state medical examiner determined the child's death was a homicide with the cause of death listed as failure to provide critical care. He died of malnutrition, dehydration and infection.
The parents hadn't changed their child's diaper in nine to 14 days before his death and it attracted flies that laid eggs and hatched into maggots while Sterling was still alive. The maggots crawled in his clothes and his skin for days.
Harris' lawyer, Nichole Watt, said her client was guilty of child endangerment but that the mother's actions were not malicious toward the baby. Watt said Harris had postpartum depression.
"The monster, in this case, is mental health," she told the jury.
Harris faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Daniel Uria contributed to this report.