Sentence in Shaken Baby Death

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SCRANTON — A father from Scranton was sentenced Wednesday morning for killing his 7-week-old son last year. Michael Nice, 24, admitted to the killing, but said it was an accident. In court Wednesday, the baby’s mother defended Nice and asked for a lenient sentence.

Michael Nice has been locked up since his arrest back in 2011 and a judge told him Wednesday he will spend at least another 3 years in state prison for the death of his infant son Leon Nice.

Because his son was so young, Nice actually received a much stricter sentence than he could have.

It was more than a year ago when Nice’s home in West Scranton became a crime scene. The father admitted then that he became angry when both of his young sons wouldn’t stop crying.

Nice told police he threw his 7-week-old son Leon into the air, grabbed him by the neck, and shook him until baby Leon stopped breathing.

Nice was originally charged with murder, but earlier this year pleaded to lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child.

Nice was sentenced to four to nine years in state prison.

Nice shared his home with his fiancée and the mother of his two children, Elisabeth Crandall. Crandall spoke in court on Michael’s behalf, taking some of the blame for the conditions their children lived in.

Crandall told the judge, “I was also living in that house, we were having a tough time, and I’m partially responsible for that.”

At his sentencing, Nice apologized too. However, Lackawanna County Judge Terrence Nealon didn’t think it was sincere. Because of that and because of baby Leon’s young age, Nice received a stiffer sentence than what’s normally recommended.

Something the Lackawanna County DA’s office was hoping for.

“In a case like this there’s no bringing Leon back, but we feel that a sentence should make a statement,” said Jennifer McCambridge, Deputy Assistant District Attorney.

The time Nice has already served since baby Leon’s death will go towards his sentence, so it’s possible Nice will be eligible for parole in three years.