But prosecutors didn't buy this explanation, pointing to shocking injuries completely inconsistent with this explanation. In the end, Dolin pleaded guilty to child abuse, and now, a judge has handed him a big sentence.
Details, photos and a video below.
In March 2012, according to 7News, Marlayna, who lived in Elizabeth with Richard, his wife, Jamie, and her brother, Landon, was rushed to an area hospital after having seizures.
It didn't take long for doctors to conclude that her condition was prompted by a series of injuries: She's said to have suffered fractured ribs and serious brain trauma.
Here's a heartrending photo of Marlayna from a fundraising website intended to defray her medical expenses:Marlayna succumbed to her wounds on April 1.
Meanwhile, law enforcement was looking critically at Richard's actions. Marlayna had been in his care when the seizures began, and afterward, he reportedly blamed what happened what 7News describes as "another child" for what happened to her. Eventually, though, he floated the aforementioned couch story, adding that he had shaken the child while trying to revive her -- arguably the worst thing anyone can do in such a circumstance.In the end, Richard pleaded guilty to child abuse, with both Jamie and Marlayna's grandmother arguing for severe punishment. In Jamie's view, Richard is guilty of having "viciously murdered and abused" their little girl.
He'll have plenty of time to consider what he did: A judge sentenced him to 26 years in prison.
Here's a look at Richard's booking photo, followed by the 7News report.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa August 2013: "Regina Marquez, who called child abuse claims 'ridiculous,' pleads guilty to child abuse."