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Beaverton man gets 20 years for suffocating infant

Robert Ross Myers' plea bargain comes with five years of probation


A Beaverton man will spend 20 years of his life in prison and be subject to supervision for five years after that for his role in ending the life of his 7-week, 6-day-old son on Jan. 2, 2013.

In lieu of a murder trial scheduled for July, Robert Ross Myers, 27, pleaded guilty on May 1 to first-degree manslaughter and first-degree criminal mistreatment in Washington County Circuit Court in the suffocation death of his infant son, Aden Russ Myers.Myers

Myers will serve 20 years in prison on the manslaughter charge, and one day in jail for the criminal mistreatment charge, after which he will be supervised by a probation officer for the remainder of five years.

Circuit Judge Suzanne Upton sentenced Myers after accepting the plea agreement he worked out with his defense attorneys Lane Borg and Seth White, and Kevin Barton, senior deputy district attorney for Washington County.

Of the 20 years of prison plus one day of jail sentence, Barton explained that consecutive — rather than concurrent — sentences for the two charges was necessary to guarantee Myers would be supervised after release.

“We wanted to exercise an abundance of caution to make clear there was punishment on the criminal mistreatment charge after he’s done serving the (manslaughter) charge,” he said this week. “We want to make extra sure he’ll be supervised.”

By striking a plea bargain and avoiding a murder trial, Myers avoided a possible life sentence with a 25-year minimum before possibility of parole.

Myers initially claimed his infant son suffocated when the father accidentally rolled on top of the baby after he fell asleep on the sofa the night of Jan. 2, 2013, in the home he shared with Aden’s mother, Stephanie Baker, on Southwest Estuary Drive.

Beaverton police detectives quickly determined the injuries the baby sustained were not consistent with Myers’ story. He was arraigned on murder charges the next day. Baker, who was in another room when the baby was smothered, was not charged in the case.

Paramedics arrived to find Aden Myers unable to breathe on his own. The baby was taken to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center and then transferred to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at Oregon Health & Science University.

Family members chose to take the baby off life support the next day.

Doctors found one broken bone in the infant’s chest that was in the process of healing, Beaverton police reported at the time, indicating the injury occurred before the suffocation. The absence of bruises ruled out the possibility that the injury resulted from a CPR attempt to revive the baby.

An autopsy of Aden’s body by Dr. Christopher Young of the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office concluded the infant died of asphyxia due to smothering and compression. Investigators said there were also signs of past injuries to the infant.

Myers eventually admitted to harming Aden, Barton noted in court. He described Myers’ confession that he — exasperated with the baby’s crying — put Aden’s face down on the sofa and pressed down until the baby was motionless.

At the time of the incident, Myers and Baker both worked at the Fred Meyer store at Southwest Walker Road and 158th Avenue. Neither had a prior criminal history, investigators said.

Barton said the outcome of the case was just, and spared family members the agony of a potentially drawn out trial this summer.

“The result was the correct result,” he said. “I’m glad we were able to avoid putting the mother through a trial.”