22 years for man convicted in infant's death - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Man convicted in infant's death sentenced to 22 years

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Gary Wilbourn was sentenced to 22 years in prison. (Source: WAFF) Gary Wilbourn was sentenced to 22 years in prison. (Source: WAFF)
MORGAN COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

A Morgan County man convicted in connection with the death of his 4-month-old daughter was sentenced to 22 years in prison Tuesday morning.

Gary Wilbourn was convicted of manslaughter and aggravated child abuse in 2008 after investigators said he shook his daughter, Amy, because she wouldn't stop crying. Authorities said Wilbourn had custody of his daughter at the time of her death. He was accused of grabbing, squeezing, hitting and shaking her. 

A murder charge against Wilbourn was dismissed in 2009 after an autopsy came back inconclusive. Authorities charged him again after a second opinion determined Amy died from brain injuries caused by being shaken. 

Wilbourn pleaded not guilty to the capital murder charge and not guilty to aggravated child abuse in 2010. 

At trial in April 2014, it was discovered that Wilbourn had an infant son who died in 1989 when he was 10 days old.

A Huntsville pediatric care unit who treated Wilbourn's daughter, Amy, said the only way the child could have suffered her injuries is if someone inflicted them on her.  

When Amy's mother testified, she said Wilbourn had acted aggressively two months before the child's death when she was crying. 

In May 2014, Wilbourn was found guilty of manslaughter and aggravated child abuse. A judge sentenced him to 22 years in prison for each charge. The sentences will run concurrently. Wilbourn will also be given credit for the four years he has already served.

"We knew going in that we had a slim chance against a capital murder conviction, but that it would probably result in either a murder or manslaughter conviction" said Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson. "We were fully expecting that to be a verdict."

With four years served, Wilbourn's sentence amounts to 18 more years behind bars. The sentencing range was 10 to 99 years. Judge Haddock said part of the reasoning for the sentence he gave was that, in his opinion, Wilbourn showed genuine remorse.

"I think he did indeed change a great deal with the long time in jail to think about what happened," said Defense Attorney Brian White. "He grieved the loss of a child while he was being accused of intentionally killing his child. That's not what the jury determined. He's had a great deal of grief and sorry for whatever role he might have played in that child's death."

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