Crime & Courts

After Kansas child's death, father sentenced to 30 years in prison for abuse, murder

Benny Clark was charged with child abuse and first-degree murder in the death of his 6-month-old son.
Benny Clark was charged with child abuse and first-degree murder in the death of his 6-month-old son.

The father of a Kansas boy who died in August 2017 was sentenced to 30 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and child abuse.

Benny William Clark, 23, of Reece, pleaded guilty in March to intentional second-degree murder and child abuse, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a release Thursday. He was sentenced to 364 months in the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Clark was charged in August with first-degree murder in the death of his 6-month-old son, Cooper Clark, The Eagle reported at the time. Greenwood County Sheriff Heath Samuels had said deputies were called to the emergency room at the county hospital, where they were told the infant had injuries inconsistent with the parents' story.

In court, Clark said he "vigorously shook" Cooper for 6 to 7 seconds after the baby took off his diaper and urinated over his bedding, the Eureka Herald and Emporia Gazette reported. Clark also said that he was putting a fresh diaper on Cooper when he fell off an ottoman and hit his head.

The Wichita Police Department’s Exploited and Missing Child Unit assisted the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office with the investigation.

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