BILLINGS – A man is facing 20 years in state prison for the death of his infant daughter in 2012, admitting he failed to stop his girlfriend from abusing their child.
During an Aug. 20 hearing before state District Court Judge Mike Moses in Billings, Jeffrey James Fox, 32, of Butte, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide.
A plea agreement calls for the prosecution to recommend a 20-year sentence to Montana State Prison, which would include Fox being designated as a persistent felony offender.
The maximum penalty for negligent homicide is 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Moses set sentencing for Nov. 3. Fox remains in custody.
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The plea agreement said Fox admitted to “failing to intervene in the significant abuse” of his daughter, 3-month-old Roseana Fox, by Amanda Rose Steffen, his girlfriend and mother of the infant.
The baby died on June 4, 2012 in Billings. A medical examiner could not determine an official cause of death but found a healing skull fracture and other injuries and signs of dehydration.
Steffen, 23, pleaded guilty in January to negligent homicide, assault on a minor and aggravated assault charges. In April 2014, Steffen went to the Sonoma County (California) Sheriff’s Office and said she wanted to turn herself in for abusing her daughter.
She admitted in court to that she hit her daughter in the head, fracturing her skull, and blocked the baby’s airway on multiple occasions from March to June 2012.