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Man gets at least 15 years in newborn's death

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A Bolivar man who maintains his innocence in the death of his premature 20-day-old daughter was sentenced Tuesday to serve 15 to 30 years in a state prison.

Clayton Daniel Mibroda, 26, and his public defenders requested leniency so Mibroda could return home to raise his 2-year-old son.

“I've missed my son's first steps, first words, two birthdays, Christmas and so much more,” Mibroda said before being sentenced on Tuesday by Westmoreland County Judge John Blahovec.

A jury convicted him in January of third-degree homicide following a four-day trial.

Natalee Kay Mibroda died Dec. 27, 2011 as a result of extensive injuries from blunt-force trauma to the head and chest, medical experts told the jury. Natalee suffered a fractured clavicle, bleeding in her brain and cuts to her mouth that indicated someone had shoved a bottle, pacifier or another object into her mouth, according to testimony.

Assistant District Attorney Barbara Jollie asked that Mibroda serve time in a state prison. The maximum sentence for third-degree homicide is 20 to 40 years.

“This baby was 5 pounds, he's 275 pounds,” she argued. “We all know that crying babies cause frustration ... but the response here was anger or rage.”

Several family members testified Tuesday on Mibroda's behalf. Some called him a great uncle and proud father who would never hurt a child. Others said the truth did not come out during the trial.

Mibroda and Natalee's mother, Kayla Lichtenfels, blamed the infant's death on each other during trial testimony.

Lichtenfels testified that she visited a doctor on the morning of Dec. 27, 2011, for treatment of postpartum depression. After returning to the couple's former home in Bolivar, Mibroda refused to give her the baby, she testified at trial.

Natalee was found unresponsive and not breathing, according to testimony.

Mibroda testified that he saw Lichtenfels shaking the baby, but told investigators that he dropped Natalee.

Victim-impact statements from Lichtenfels and her grandmother were read by Jollie. Neither attended the sentencing. Jollie said Lichtenfels was ill.

“I'll never hear the baby talk, the baby giggles, her first words,” Lichtenfels wrote. “He only gets third-degree murder and Natalee gets a sentence of death.”

“She was killed by someone who was supposed to protect and love her,” Lichtenfels wrote.

The pair's 2-year-old son was 10 months at the time of his sister's death. He is now being cared for by Mibroda's mother, Vickie Fetterman.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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