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Shane appeal denied for third time

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news Worthington, 56187
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WORTHINGTON -- A petition filed by convicted murderer Lisa Shane was denied Tuesday by the State of Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Shane's third appeal asked the court to take another look at the post-conviction relief, which was requesting a reduction in Shane's sentence.

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Shane was convicted in April 2006 for second-degree murder through child neglect, which stemmed from the death of her infant daughter. She was sentenced to 15 years incarceration in a state facility after a lengthy investigation and eight days of testimony. Her parental right over her other three children were terminated by the state before she went on trial for murder.

The Minnesota Supreme Court denied her initial appeal in March 2008, and a petition for post-conviction relief was denied in December that same year. Both appeals were based on the same four arguments: that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction, that the district court abused its discretion by admitting evidence of the infant's prior injuries, that jury instructions were insufficient and that the district court erred by imposing an upward sentencing departure.

Five years ago today, Shane brought 3-month-old Ashanta into the emergency room shortly after 11 p.m. The baby was nonresponsive, in severe respiratory distress, flaccid and gray. Shortly after arriving with Shane, the child stopped breathing and was put on life support.

A medical examine revealed she had sustained a skull fracture that took up the entire surface of her skull. She also had bilateral rib fractures, some in various stages of healing. Shane told staff she did not know what had happened to the baby, who she said was under her care all day.

Five days later, after being informed Ashanta was unlikely to survive, Shane made the decision to withdraw life support. During the subsequent autopsy, the doctor noted the injuries and later testified the skull fracture could not have been caused by the child being dropped. The doctor likened the skull fracture to injuries that would have occurred if the child was dropped out of a third-story window.

By then, Shane had told authorities that the baby's father, who had been released from jail that day, had stopped by and argued with Shane, and the baby was dropped. Her earlier story was that the father had never been at her home, then changed to state he dropped the baby while she was showering.

It was later discovered Shane had left a message with a relative of the baby's father asking if he had been released as scheduled. On a voice mail, Shane said she had not seen the man at all that day, but the baby was sick and at the hospital.

Shane's story changed regarding several other facts, including the amount of alarms the child's apnea monitor had sounded in the 12 hours before she received medical care. She originally told medical staff the alarm had only sounded due to a loose connection, but later said it started sounding frequently after 5 p.m. Later she said the alarm "went off a lot that day."

Shane waived her right to have a jury determine aggravating factors and was sentenced to 180 months in prison, an upward durational departure from the presumptive sentence of 144 to 156 months. The court based the departure on the fact that the victim was particularly vulnerable due to her age and prematurity.

According to the opinion, filed Tuesday, Shane argued that a supreme court decision on a different case provided a legal basis that had not been available at the time of her trial, and the petition should be considered in the interest of justice.

The appellate court judged stated in the opinion that Shane's arguments in the appeal lacked substantive merit.

Shane's third appeal asked the court to take another look at the post-conviction relief, which was requesting a reduction in Shane's sentence.

Shane was convicted in April 2006 for second-degree murder through child neglect, which stemmed from the death of her infant daughter. She was sentenced to 15 years incarceration in a state facility after a lengthy investigation and eight days of testimony. Her parental right over her other three children were terminated by the state before she went on trial for murder.

The Minnesota Supreme Court denied her initial appeal in March 2008, and a petition for post-conviction relief was denied in December that same year. Both appeals were based on the same four arguments: that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction, that the district court abused its discretion by admitting evidence of the infant's prior injuries, that jury instructions were insufficient and that the district court erred by imposing an upward sentencing departure.

Five years ago today, Shane brought 3-month-old Ashanta into the emergency room shortly after 11 p.m. The baby was nonresponsive, in severe respiratory distress, flaccid and gray. Shortly after arriving with Shane, the child stopped breathing and was put on life support.

A medical examine revealed she had sustained a skull fracture that took up the entire surface of her skull. She also had bilateral rib fractures, some in various stages of healing. Shane told staff she did not know what had happened to the baby, who she said was under her care all day.

Five days later, after being informed Ashanta was unlikely to survive, Shane made the decision to withdraw life support. During the subsequent autopsy, the doctor noted the injuries and later testified the skull fracture could not have been caused by the child being dropped. The doctor likened the skull fracture to injuries that would have occurred if the child was dropped out of a third-story window.

By then, Shane had told authorities that the baby's father, who had been released from jail that day, had stopped by and argued with Shane, and the baby was dropped. Her earlier story was that the father had never been at her home, then changed to state he dropped the baby while she was showering.

It was later discovered Shane had left a message with a relative of the baby's father asking if he had been released as scheduled. On a voice mail, Shane said she had not seen the man at all that day, but the baby was sick and at the hospital.

Shane's story changed regarding several other facts, including the amount of alarms the child's apnea monitor had sounded in the 12 hours before she received medical care. She originally told medical staff the alarm had only sounded due to a loose connection, but later said it started sounding frequently after 5 p.m. Later she said the alarm "went off a lot that day."

Shane waived her right to have a jury determine aggravating factors and was sentenced to 180 months in prison, an upward durational departure from the presumptive sentence of 144 to 156 months. The court based the departure on the fact that the victim was particularly vulnerable due to her age and prematurity.

According to the opinion, filed Tuesday, Shane argued that a supreme court decision on a different case provided a legal basis that had not been available at the time of her trial, and the petition should be considered in the interest of justice.

The appellate court judged stated in the opinion that Shane's arguments in the appeal lacked substantive merit.

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