Father whose son was found dead in swing, maggots in diaper, sentenced to life in prison

A father who was the primary caregiver for his son, who was later found dead in a baby swing, will now sit behind bars for the rest of his life.

Zachary Paul Koehn did not speak when given the chance at his sentencing hearing, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.

The sentence of life without parole is mandatory for his first-degree murder charge.

Sterling Koehn, 4 months, was found dead at an apartment. He was sitting in a swing when he was found in August 2017. Doctors said the baby died of dehydration, malnutrition and infection that developed from diaper rash that had ruptured his skin, The Courier reported.

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An entomologist said there were maggots in Sterling’s diaper, showing it hadn’t been changed for a week.

Koehn admitted in court that he didn’t change his son’s diaper because the smell made him sick. He admitted to occasionally feeding the baby but claimed he didn’t know Sterling was in distress.

Koehn's attorney requested a new trial, but that request was denied, with prosecutors saying there was no way Koehn couldn't have known his son's condition after Koehn admitted going into the baby's room in the days before Sterling was found dead, The Courier reported.

The baby's mother, Cheyanne Harris, 21, will go on trial in January. Her attorneys told the courts that she may use diminished capacity or intoxication defenses. A psychologist testified during Koehn's trial that Harris may also have been suffering from postpartum depression, The Courier reported.

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