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Shane sentencing scheduled for May 26

WORTHINGTON -- The sentencing for Worthington native Lisa Shane has been scheduled for 10 a.m. May 26 in Nobles County District Court.

Shane, who was convicted of second-degree murder and child neglect in late April for the death of her 3-month-old infant daughter, Ashanta, was acquitted on a separate second-degree murder charge.

The charge on which Shane was acquitted was based on first-degree assault and stated she caused the death of the child unintentionally while committing assault. The second murder charge was for child neglect and based on the fact that Shane withheld medical attention for the child after she was injured, resulting in substantial harm.

Shortly after the conviction, the state filed a motion asking the court for an upward departure of the presumptive sentence, which would normally be about 150 months. The state based the request on two factors -- the victim was particularly vulnerable due to her age and the medical conditions caused by her premature birth, and the victim was treated with particular cruelty in that she received a 4-inch skull fracture.

Judge David Christensen granted the motion based on the age factor, but denied the motion based on the cruelty factor.

"Ashanta was unable to talk, unable to walk, completely unable to defend herself against the defendant and unable to request medical attention," Assistant Attorney General William Klumpp stated in his memorandum. "Based upon Ashanta's absolute vulnerability, the court should depart durationally from the permissive range of 144 to 156 months."

Chief Public Defender James Fleming disagreed, stating the victim's age is a basic element of the crime of child neglect, and the skull fracture related to the charge for which Shane was found not guilty.

"The district court cannot base an upward durational departure on a factor the legislature has already taken into account in determining the elements of the offense," Fleming stated in his memorandum. "The defense opposes the use of these aggravating factors and respectfully requests the court impose the presumptive sentence."