Fayette County man sentenced to death for killing a 4-year-old boy

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A jury today sentenced a Fayette County man to death for the 2011 fatal beating of his girlfriend’s son.

Patrick Haney Jr., 30, was convicted Tuesday of first-degree murder in the death of 4-year-old Trenton St. Clair, who authorities said he abused over several weeks in a Point Marion home.

The jury deliberated for about two hours before handing down the sentence this afternoon.

Fayette County assistant district attorney Mark Mehalov said the boy’s family, including his grandmother, seemed satisfied with today’s outcome.

“But nothing’s ever going to bring Trenton back,” he said by phone after the hearing.

The boy’s mother, Heather Forsythe, 30, is facing up to five years in prison after pleading guilty last Wednesday to a child endangerment charge in connection with the case. She testified against Haney during his trial this week.

She told jurors that she left Haney alone with her son and returned to hear noise upstairs and found the man slapping and hitting the boy, Mr. Mehalov said.

She said she tried to intervene and repeatedly sought to call her family or go to the hospital, but Haney told her she was overreacting. When she said she was going to take the boy to the hospital, she said Haney told her he was worried he’d go to jail.

The boy died at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va.

Pennsylvania State Police wrote in a criminal complaint that Haney admitted to them that he beat the child, “slapping [Trenton] in the face and smacking him on the back of the head as a form of discipline because he wouldn’t listen.”

First Published March 12, 2014 3:18 PM


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