BOONE CO., Ky. - A conviction in the death of a 2-month-old girl in Northern Kentucky was overturned Monday in court.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals found that Benjamin Senseman's constitutional rights were violated when he was convicted in the death of his 2-month-old daughter, Chloe, a year-and-a-half ago.
The coroner ruled the child died from head trauma and broken ribs in July of 2009.
Senseman would later confess to a Boone County sheriff's detective. But, the court ruled the confession was coerced and Senseman was never advised of his right not to incriminate himself.
The judges found that without that confession the jury might not have convicted Senseman of manslaughter and criminal abuse.
Former neighbors of Senseman, who live on Princess Court in Hebron, Ky., agree with the court's decision and hope a retrial is granted soon.
"Give him another trial. I think it needs to be looked at. There were things missing about his character," said Donna Cooper, Senseman's former neighbor. "When that story or those facts arose on this street, people were shocked. There's no way. Not Ben. Not Ben. Ben's a nice man. We see Ben every single day with his kid," she added.
It will now be up to the Boone County Commonwealth's attorney to re-try the case without that confession as evidence.
"This isn't over because they can file a motion for reconsideration in the Court of Appeals and if hey lost that, they can file a motion for review with the Supreme Court of Kentucky. So this is just the first step, but we're very pleased with where we are," said Wilbur Zevely, Senseman's attorney.
Zevely has long maintained Senseman's innocence.
In the meantime Senseman will remain in prison in LaGrange, Ky. where he continues to serve his 15 year prison sentence.
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