A Brooklyn Center woman has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for inflicting fatal injuries on a 9-month-old boy she was babysitting.
Jennifer L. Baldwin, 38, received a sentence of 21¼ years Monday from Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson in connection with the death of Colton Senogles on March 2018 in her home.
With credit for time in jail since her arrest on charges of unintentional second-degree murder, Baldwin will serve roughly the first 14 years in prison and the balance on supervised release.
Baldwin's punishment was significantly above what's recommended by state sentencing guidelines because the jury that convicted her in June found aggravating circumstances based on the boy's age and his inability to protect himself, flee or call for help.
Assistant County Attorney Paige Starkey asked during sentencing for a 30-year term, noting that Colton died of a "catastrophic head injury. Every minute counts. The brain was swelling inside the skull." Instead Baldwin called Colton's mother and others before calling 911.
Baldwin's attorney, Andrew St. Patrick Gordon, argued that a term of 12½ years as state guidelines recommend would be just. The defense also pointed out that she is the mother of four.
"It's no question it is tragic for your children to grow up without their mother," Anderson said Monday in court. "But you were found guilty of … murder and that changes everything."
Logan Senogles, Colton's father, and other relatives gave victim impact statements during sentencing Monday. He detailed how his life and the life of Caitlin O'Brien, his girlfriend and Colton's mother, spiraled downward.
Logan Senogles said Baldwin "murdered my family that day. Not just Colton, but Caitlin and me. Colton just got the blunt end of it."
He said the couple had a full house with Colton and two dogs, and he was saving up to buy a house before asking Caitlin to marry him.
"I now live all by myself, and the days are a blur," Senogles said. "I have nothing I want to work for, and I have turned into someone no one wants to be around. I want [Baldwin] to do the maximum time allowed."
According to prosecutors:
The boy, who lived in Blaine, arrived at Baldwin's home for babysitting on the morning of March 15, 2018. Within an hour, she called Colton's mother and told her to come get him because "something's not right," the criminal complaint read.
Baldwin then called 911, and police arrived at the home in the 6400 block of Fremont Avenue N. First responders rushed Colton to a hospital for treatment of brain injuries that included bleeding and swelling. He died five days later.
Baldwin first told authorities Colton nodded off for about 30 minutes and awoke fussy in addition to needing a dry outfit. When Baldwin laid him down to change him, she said the boy's eyes rolled back and he appeared to be "in a different world."
Authorities questioned her again and brought the autopsy results as well as a report from a child abuse specialist. When confronted with the evidence, Baldwin admitted to handling Colton "roughly" and "aggressively" and saw a change in his behavior immediately, the complaint read.
She also said she slept little the previous night and had not taken medication for anxiety or mood disorders. She had just regained custody of her children from child protection and was having financial problems.