Clearfield Man Sentenced for Toddler's Death

Clearfield Man Sentenced for Toddler's Death

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FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) -- A judge has sentenced Clinton L. Rosenbaum to five years to life in prison for the slaying of a toddler and has recommended he be kept in prison at least 20 years.

Second District Judge Darwin C. Hansen imposed the sentence Thursday on Rosenbaum, 24, of Clearfield, who had pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. The actual time served will be determined by the pardons board.

"This was a helpless child that could not defend himself," Hansen said. "Your conduct toward the child was cruel, insensitive and totally unjustified."

The victim, Jackson Burns, was the son of Rachel Susan Burns, 22. Rosenbaum worked with Burns, and was staying at her residence, but was not her boyfriend, her attorney said.

Layton police were called to a domestic disturbance at her apartment on June 2. Burns and Rosenbaum were outside fighting when officers arrived. Burns told police she wanted Rosenbaum to leave and he would not.

While investigating the fight, officers found the child unconscious inside the apartment. The child was flown to Primary Children's Medical Center, where he died.

Charging documents alleged that Rosenbaum, a martial arts practitioner, punched the child in the head with extreme force because the boy had hit Rosenbaum's dog with a toy.

Rosenbaum then "tossed the child's limp body into a bedroom and the child's head struck the wooden portion of the bed, causing further injury," the documents allege.

Several hours later, Rosenbaum persuaded Burns to allow him to burn one of the child's fingers with a cigarette in an effort to revive him. The burn was so serious as to remove the tip of the child's finger," according to the documents.

The autopsy report said the boy previously had been kicked or hit in the abdomen with such force that it injured him internally, making him sick and causing him to vomit for several days.

Burns was charged with child abuse for allowing the boy's finger to be burned. She pleaded guilty to third-degree felony child abuse and was sentenced to 150 hours of community service.

Rosenbaum's attorney, Mark Arrington, contended Burns shared part of the responsibility for her son's death.

Hansen said, "The mother's responsibility was her lack of judgment by allowing (Rosenbaum) to move in. She didn't hit the child. She didn't throw the child. She didn't kick the child, nor did she cause the injuries to the child. That remains (Rosenbaum's) responsibility."

Rosenbaum told the court, "I'm very sorry for what happened. I wish I could take it back."

His mother, Cathy Rosenbaum, said she was sorry for all of the pain the Burns' family has gone through. She told the judge her son's actions on that night "were so out of his character.

"We cannot understand everything that went on, but we want Clint to know we love him," she said.

Rachel Burns' mother, Ruth, said Jackson thought everyone was his friend and she wondered how scared he was when he realized Rosenbaum was not a friend.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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