SALEM -- A Salem man was convicted Thursday for the third time in the 2002 death of his 15-month-old daughter. He had already been convicted in the case twice, but both rulings were overturned.
Terry Dean Davis pleaded no contest to manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. With credit for the time he has already served, he will likely spend about a year-and-a-half behind bars.
His daughter, Cherish Chevelle Ecklund, died of head injuries and blunt-force abdominal trauma at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in June, 2002.
Her older sister confronted Davis in the courtroom Thursday.
“I couldn’t fathom living without my son,” said Mandi Sneyd. “You don’t get to kill a child if you don’t want them. They aren’t trash and no one made you be involved in her life.”
Davis and Cherish’s mother dated temporarily and broke up before the girl was born. The two began an informal visitation arrangement about three months later. Davis had taken Cherish for an overnight stay when she died.
Davis was convicted of manslaughter in November, 2003 and the jury was deadlocked on a murder charge. The judge later declared a mistrial because one of the jurors had looked up a medical term online. Davis was released from prison on bail, according to Marion County deputy district attorney Jodie Bureta.
In October, 2006, he was convicted by a second jury of manslaughter and murder. He went to prison until December, 2012, when the Oregon Supreme Court ruled some evidence left out of the trial should have been admitted. The conviction was again overturned.
Bureta called the process a complete failure of the justice system. She said Cherish's family was denied justice.
KGW Reporter Pat Dooris contributed to this report.