Man sentenced to five years for killing infant son

Friday, January 18, 2002

FORSYTH, Mo. -- A man will serve five years in prison for killing his infant son, who southwest Missouri authorities say was squeezed so hard that his ribs broke in 36 places.

Brett Svoboda, 21, of Overland Park, Kan., was sentenced Thursday in Taney County Circuit Court in the death of 8-week-old Trey Svoboda. He pleaded guilty in November to reduced charges of manslaughter and child endangerment.

The judge sentenced Svoboda to five years on each count, but ordered them to be served at the same time.

Trey lived with his mother in Hollister at the time of his death in January 2000.

At a preliminary hearing, Greene County Medical Examiner James Spindler testified that the child had more than 36 rib fractures caused by squeezing at the time of his death.

Some of the child's ribs had healed and been broken again -- one rib three times, he said. The boy died because he could not breathe properly with multiple rib fractures.

Svoboda told authorities that the boy would stop crying if he was held tightly. He initially was charged with second-degree murder.

Authorities accepted a plea because they feared it would have been difficult to prove Svoboda intended the harm the baby.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: