Man to serve nearly 40 years in jail in connection with 3-month-old child’s death

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Mug shot of Sara Martin (left), Brandon Staggs (right)

LAFAYETTE, Ind.– A Lafayette man was sentenced Monday in connection with the death of his 3-month-old child in June 2015.

Brandon Staggs and the child’s mother, Sara Martin, were each charged with with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, and maintaining a common nuisance.

According to court documents, on June 28, 2015, Martin was at Staggs’ home with their baby when she overdosed on heroin. Staggs took her to a local hospital and then went home with the baby.

Later in the afternoon, one of Staggs’ friends visited him. The friend found Staggs sitting on the sofa, and the baby was between the cushions in the middle of the sofa and appeared discolored with blood on his mouth.

The friend called 911, and emergency personnel transported the baby to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead. According to a coroner’s report, the baby’s cause of death was respiratory arrest due to positional asphyxia from co-sleeping.

Staggs pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 39 years. Of that sentence, 35 years will be served at the Indiana Department of Correction. Two years will be served at Tippecanoe County Community Corrections, and the remaining two years will be spent on supervised probation.

Martin pleaded guilty last September and received four years in the Indiana Department of Correction with 46 days credit.