Battle Creek man convicted in retrial in child’s death

Left: An undated courtesy photo of Baylee Stenman. Right: Leo Ackley in court on Nov. 22, 2011.
Left: An undated courtesy photo of Baylee Stenman. Right: Leo Ackley in court on Nov. 22, 2011.

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — A Battle Creek man retried for the 2011 death of his former girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter has been convicted of felony murder and first-degree child abuse.

A Calhoun County Circuit Court jury deliberated more than 10 hours before reaching the verdict Thursday against 30-year-old Leo Ackley in the blunt force trauma death of Baylee Stenman.

The Michigan Supreme Court unanimously overturned Ackley’s original murder conviction, saying a defense lawyer didn’t adequately prepare for a case dominated by expert opinions.

In the retrial, defense attorney Andrew Rodenhouse argued the medical science of abusive head trauma is flawed and a defense expert witness testified an autopsy was incomplete and didn’t prove when or how Baylee was injured.

A prosecution witness testified the injury was severe and Baylee would have shown immediate symptoms.