Man convicted in Tennessee toddler’s 2001 death
COLUMBIA (AP) — A Tennessee man has been convicted in the 2001 death of a 15-month old boy.
After a week-long trial, Christopher Lee Goodwin was found guilty Friday of first-degree felony murder stemming from aggravated child neglect in the death of Jeffry Kelton Skaggs, WTVF-TV reported.
Goodwin, 49, faces an automatic sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole, District Attorney General Brent Cooper said.
Investigators said Goodwin, who was the boyfriend of the child’s mother, was alone with the child when he suffered a fatal blow to the head in January 2001.
The child’s death was initally ruled an accident, but the autopsy findings were questioned by experts. The medical examiner at the time, Dr. Charles Harlan, theorized that the toddler fell while climbing on a chest and hit his head on a bed rail.
Harlan later lost his medical license. Cooper reopened the cold case after his election in 2014 and worked to change state law to give him more tools to investigate, the television station reported.
Goodwin, of Maury County, was indicted on murder charges in 2019, years after an investigation by WTVF raised questions about the death.