Teen Parents Plead Not Guilty in Infant’s Death

The eight-week-old infant died March 27

By Associated Press

BILLINGS — Two teenage parents are facing homicide charges in the death of their infant.

Samantha May Hance, 19, and a 16-year-old boy pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide in Yellowstone County District Court on Friday, The Billings Gazette reported.

In both cases, Judge Ashley Harada continued bail at $500,000, after arrest warrants were issued in that amount. Because they boy charged is a juvenile, the case will require a hearing to decide whether it should be transferred to youth court.

The eight-week-old infant died March 27. An autopsy showed broken ribs, collar bone and arms, according to charges. The medical examiner determined the baby died from neglect.

Both Hance and the boy told investigators they were unaware of any physical abuse of the baby, but Hance acknowledged she’d seen her boyfriend treat the baby roughly, charges said. When asked about the broken bones, she told police that if she had to guess, she would attribute the fractures to her boyfriend.

He denied neglecting or abusing the baby in an interview with detectives.

Investigators reviewed text messages between the parents in which he apologized for taking out his anger on Hance and the baby, and Hance warned him to be less aggressive with the baby, charges said.

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