Man found guilty in 5-year-old child’s death gets 40 years

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Harley Anderson’s death

A man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for killing a 5-year-old child while babysitting her in Vancouver, Washington.

Ryan Burge, 38, was sentenced Friday in Clark County Superior Court in Harley Anderson’s death, The Columbian reported.

A jury in February convicted Burge of second-degree murder and manslaughter. The jury also determined he was guilty of several factors that made his crime particularly egregious including including that Anderson was vulnerable and he betrayed a position of trust.

She suffered severe head trauma on Nov. 2, 2018 and died at a Portland children’s hospital.

Nataasha Tafoya, who had called 911 about her unresponsive daughter, told the court she couldn’t begin to describe the effect her daughter’s death has had on her, as well as family and friends.

The prosecution had argued that evidence showed that Burge attacked Hartley for throwing a fit. The defense asserted that the girl had a history of self-harm and caused her own fatal injuries.

Burge had been babysitting Hartley while Tafoya worked and her sons were at school.

A neurosurgeon told a detective Hartley suffered a stroke and massive brain swelling. The doctor said the injuries to her head “could not be self-inflicted,” court records say.

Burge declined to give a statement. Defense attorney Michele Michalek told the court that Burge is sorry for the family’s loss.

At sentencing, Judge Jennifer Snider said she doesn’t think Burge has taken “accountability or responsibility at all,” especially after he declined to make a statement.