Iowa father takes stand, blames mother for baby's death

Iowa father takes stand, blames mother for baby's death
Zachary Koehn, 29, testifies, Friday Nov. 2, 2018 in Henry County District Court in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Koehn on trial for murder in the gruesome death of his infant son has taken the stand in his own defense and blamed the baby's mother. (Jeff Reinitz/The Courier via AP)

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa father on trial for the gruesome death of his infant son blamed the baby’s mother from the stand Friday.

Zachary Paul Koehn, 29, said under questioning from his attorney that he had entrusted care of 4-month-old Sterling Koehn to the baby’s mother, the Courier reported .

“I put my trust in the wrong person,” Koehn said repeatedly. He also pointed to the 70 to 80 hours a week he worked as a truck driver, while the baby’s mother, Cheyanne Harris, did not work outside the home.

But under cross-examination from the prosecutor, Koehn conceded he took better care of his dog than he did of the baby. He also admitted to being a longtime meth user and providing Harris with meth, as well.

Koehn is on trial for murder and child endangerment in the August 2017 death of the baby. The infant was found dead in a maggot-infested diaper and baby swing, weighing only a few ounces more than his birth weight.

An autopsy showed the baby died of malnutrition, dehydration and an E. coli infection caused after he was left in a soiled diaper for up to two weeks.

Harris is also charged and faces a separate trial at a later date.

Koehn’s trial was moved from Chickasaw County to Henry County to counter pretrial publicity in the case.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier,