Convicted baby killer asks judge for mercy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A convicted baby killer is asking a judge for a second chance.

Stephanie Schoonover, 24, faces up to life in prison for her role in the death of her 3-month-old, Logan Hancock. She previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in April.

On Thursday, prosecutors and the defense made their final sentencing arguments in front of Circuit Judge Brad Stetson.

Prosecutors would like the judge to sentence Schoonover to 45 years in prison. The defense is asking for a more lenient sentence.

Prosecutor Brian Brady said Schoonover committed a violent and heinous act when she shook baby Logan.

"She didn't take a man's life, an old man's life, a teenager's life; she took a three-month-old child's life who did nothing," he said.

Schoonover admitted to shaking her baby and hitting his head against his crib at their Oceanway home last September. He died within days of his injuries.

Betty Pope, Schoonover's grandmother, said she is remorseful for what she did. Pope said her granddaughter was angry and overwhelmed when the crimes happened.

"I hope she don't get the rest of her life in prison. I don't think she deserves that. I know the baby is gone and we can't bring him back. There's nothing we can do for him," she said.

Pope said she is caring for Schoonover's 3-year-old son while his mother is in jail.

Schoonover has another hearing July 14. The judge has not said when he will make his final sentencing decision.


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