SC appeals court overturns child abuse conviction

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Court of Appeals has overturned the conviction and seven-year prison sentence for a former Clemson student in the death of his girlfriend’s 16-month-old daughter.

Richard Lewis was convicted in March 2011 of aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse. Prosecutors say he knew his girlfriend Ashley Hepburn shook her daughter so hard she died from her injuries in October 2009.

But Lewis’ attorney pointed out that Lewis said he didn’t realize what was happening to the child until she was found unconscious and even though Hepburn spanked her 2-year-old son earlier, he couldn’t know she was so angry she might seriously harm her daughter.

The appeals judges agreed that Lewis should have never faced a jury.

Hepburn was convicted and is serving a 45-year sentence.

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