A Michigan man has been found guilty of murdering his 15-week-old daughter while orally raping her, the Huffington Post reports.
26-year-old Steven Deuman was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated sexual assault Wednesday, and faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
The baby girl, Evelynne Deuman, was found dead in her father’s home with a condom in her mouth on August 12, 2011. Deuman called his daughter’s mother saying he left the child in bed to go have a smoke, and returned to find the girl unresponsive on the bedroom floor.
An autopsy found that the 15-week-old died of asphyxiation. The prosecution said her father’s claims that she fell out of the bed and choked on a discarded condom didn’t make sense.
Assistant US Attorney Phil Green said, “Even if [she did end up on the floor,] how was she going to suck that condom up?”
The FBI, which was investigating the case since it happened on tribal land, alleged that Deuman had murdered his daughter “during the perpetration, or attempted perpetration, of aggravated sexual abuse.” Deuman was living on the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Reservation in northern Michigan.
A forensic pathologist hired by the defense testified that the condom and autopsy were not evidence that Deuman raped or killed his daughter.
“Anything’s possible, but I have difficulty envisioning that,” Ljubisa Jovan Dragovic, the forensic pathologist, said.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Assistant US Attorney Green said:
“This was a very difficult case for anyone to have to hear. This is about as heinous as it gets. That’s a tragic reality here. He did do it. A beautiful 15-week-old baby girl lost her life, lost her future, because of his need for sexual gratification.”
Natasha Maitland, Evelynne Deuman’s mother, testified on behalf of the prosecution, and Green applauded her courage throughout the whole process.
“She is a remarkable young woman. It’s my fervent hope she can put her life back together. She was forced to endure (a loss) no one should ever have to endure,” Green said.
Several other witnesses testified that they had been molested by Steven Deuman when they were children, but defense attorney Richard Stroba claimed his client was a “proud father” who wouldn’t hurt his children. Deuman, Maitland, and their two children, along with several other people were living in a double-wide mobile home, and Stroba said the baby girl’s death wasn’t really a surprise.
“The reality is, that room, that house, was an accident waiting to happen,” Stroba said.