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Man who fatally beat daughter, then blamed cat, receives 15-year sentence

MANKATO, Minn. — A southern Minnesota man who pleaded guilty to causing the death of his infant daughter and attempted to blame the child’s injuries on the family cat was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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Kristopher Dale Arlando Henderson, 41, of Mankato, was sentenced on Tuesday in Blue Earth County court after pleading guilty to second-degree unintentional murder in connection with the Nov. 3, 2021, death of Adaline Henderson, according to Minnesota online court records.

Henderson and Shelby Goodrich brought their 2-month-old daughter to a Mankato hospital on Sept. 23, 2021, according to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. Health care personnel determined that the child had bleeding in the brain, the newspaper reported.

Medical personnel also observed bruises on Adaline’s face and broken ribs and legs. She was moved to a hospital in Rochester for more treatment, the Star Tribune reported.

According to court records, the parents told investigators that “the injuries could have been caused by one of their cats.” However, a doctor disputed that assertion, writing in a report that “the 20-pound cat that the father states was around the infant is not the cause of these injuries,” the newspaper reported.

“I’m not that damn person, man,” the complaint quoted Henderson telling investigators in response to the doctor’s report. Henderson denied harming his daughter but allegedly acknowledged that he might have been “a little rough” while changing her diaper.

Henderson also allegedly admitted that on the day Adaline went to the hospital, he “cradled the child face down in his arms and struck her back more forcefully than usual for what he estimated was five minutes,” according to court records.

Henderson also allegedly admitted that the blows were hard enough to break his daughter’s ribs, the Star Tribune reported.

After nearly a week of treatment, doctors determined that Adaline showed “little to no brain activity,” court documents stated. She was pronounced dead on Nov. 3, 2021.

Henderson has been credited with 526 days served in prison, according to his sentencing order filed in the Fifth Judicial District Court. As part of Henderon’s plea deal, prosecutors dismissed felony charges including manslaughter, first-degree assault, and three counts of malicious punishment of a child, according to the sentencing order.

Since Minnesota inmates serve one-third of their sentences on supervised probation, Henderson will serve about 9 1/2 years in prison, according to Southern Minnesota News.

Henderson was also sentenced Tuesday in a 2019 assault case in which he was accused of beating his roommate over a utility bill, the news organization reported. He was convicted of third-degree assault and sentenced to two years in prison, which he will serve concurrently with his murder sentence, according to Southern Minnesota News.