Federal jury convicts Okla. man of fatally drowning 2-year-old daughter during baptism
04/19/2023 3:32 pm PDT
PITTSBURG COUNTY, Okla. (TCD) -- A federal jury convicted a man this week in connection with the 2016 drowning death of his daughter in Indian Country.
According to a news release from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Krebs Police Department officials began searching for Devin Sizemore and his 2-year-old daughter July 12, 2016, after family members contacted officials to say Sizemore was "acting strangely." Three days later, on July 15, a Krebs Police officers found them at Choctaw Park and "heard screams."
The State Bureau of Investigation said the officer followed the screams and discovered the 2-year-old girl floating in a pond. He pulled her out and attempted CPR. She was transported to the McAlester Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The officer reportedly found Sizemore nearby, and when the officer tried to arrest him, Sizemore attempted to drown the policeman. A Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to the scene to assist, and the two officials arrested Sizemore.
On Sept. 14, 2018, the State Bureau of Investigation announced that a Pittsburg County jury convicted Sizemore of one count of first-degree murder and assault and battery on a police officer. The jury recommended a life sentence without parole for the first-degree murder charge, and Sizemore was sentenced to five years for the assault and battery charge.
Sizemore also faced federal charges for his daughter’s death because they are both members of an Indian tribe, and the crimes occurred within the boundaries of the Choctaw Nation Reservation. On Tuesday, April 18, the Justice Department announced Sizemore was convicted last week of child abuse resulting in death and voluntary manslaughter.
During the trial, federal jurors learned Sizemore was "estranged from the child’s mother when he took the child for a visit,” and he “admitted he 'baptized' the victim and held her under water for approximately 30 seconds."
Sizemore will be sentenced at a later date, but he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for child abuse resulting in death and 15 years for voluntary manslaughter.
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