Plea bargains are a necessary evil given how overtaxed our judicial system is these days. But it's still frustrating when someone who seems to deserve a long, long sentence gets a lighter one simply because he made a deal saving the state the time and expense of putting him on trial.
That appears to be the case with Steven Burnley, 22, who initially denied striking his girlfriend's toddler in early 2008 -- but changed his story after an autopsy on the child, which showed evidence of a hand-shaped bruise on her face.
Burnley's punishment? Sixteen years, the maximum jolt available under an arrangement worked out with prosecutors -- but still a relative bargain considering the repercussions of his actions. Read the Denver District Attorney's Office release below:
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MAN SENTENCED IN TODDLER'S DEATH
A man who pleaded guilty earlier to causing the death of a 22-month old girl who was in his care has been given the maximum sentence possible under the guilty plea agreement.
Steven Burnley (dob: 08-06-87) pleaded guilty last October to child abuse negligently causing death, a class 3 felony, and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
On October 13, 2007, he was caring for 22-month-old Taylor Bach, the daughter of his girlfriend, when he caused a fatal head injury.