Mother to testify in 2011 beating death of Point Marion boy

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A Fayette County woman has pleaded guilty in the beating death of her 4-year-old son as jury selection continues for the death penalty trial of her boyfriend, who is accused of first-degree murder.

Heather Forsyth, 30, of Point Marion, pleaded guilty Wednesday to endangering the welfare of a child in the 2011 death of her son, Trenton St. Clair.

Prosecutors, who have recommended a sentence of 2½ to five years, said Ms. Forsythe has agreed to testify against Patrick Haney Jr., 30, who could face the death penalty if convicted.

Authorities allege that Mr. Haney systematically beat the boy over several weeks and Ms. Forsythe did nothing to stop the abuse.

Ms. Forsythe testified that she left Mr. Haney alone with her son and returned to hear a “ruckus” upstairs and saw the man standing over the boy, slapping and hitting him.

She said she tried to intervene and got into a shoving match with Mr. Haney, then repeatedly sought to call her family or go to the hospital, but Mr. Haney told her she was overreacting.

The boy’s grandmother, Sharon Smitley of nearby Lake Lynn, said she wished Ms. Forsythe’s prospective sentence were longer.

“You can’t sit there and bathe a baby, and see those bruises, and put your child to bed, seeing those bruises,” Ms. Smitley said. “She was in complete control. She knew what was going on.”


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