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.
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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:
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.