Pacific Daily News
A previously convicted sex offender who is now accused in a shaken baby death case has agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter and child abuse, and faces a sentencing range of five to 23 years in prison.
Christopher Gebhart, 25, is set to officially plead guilty during a Superior Court of Guam hearing on Feb. 13. During a court hearing yesterday, Gebhart's attorney said the plea deal was being finalized.
"We have the plea and he is going to sign it," said attorney Jeff Moots, with Gebhart sitting at his right side. "We just need to have it executed and filed."
After court, Moots said the plea agreement includes charges of first-degree felony manslaughter and third-degree felony child abuse. Once Gebhart has pleaded guilty, attorneys will argue over an appropriate sentence within the five-to-23-year range, Moots said.
Gebhart is one of several people who were arrested after the 2009 death of 1-year-old Skylin Haechi Santos, who died of shaken baby syndrome. Gebhart was charged with aggravated murder in 2009, but the indictment was later dismissed because of prosecutorial error. He was re-indicted in April.
According to court documents, Gebhart was the boyfriend of the child's baby sitter. Gebhart allegedly slapped, threw and shook the young girl, leaving her with "traumatic brain injuries," court document state.
The baby sitter is Sharika Pangelinan, who still faces a murder charge.
Pangelinan is considering a proposed plea agreement, said defense attorney Doug Moylan. The attorney declined to discuss the components of the plea deal, but he said Pangelinan will most likely be ready to plead guilty on Feb. 13 also.
The young girl's mother, Valerie Santos, was sentenced to 21 months in prison after pleading guilty to third-degree felony child abuse in June 2011. She left the young girl with Gebhart and Pangelinan for extended periods of time, and did nothing when injuries began to surface on her child, according to court documents.
Gebhart is also a registered sex offender. He was convicted of child molestation in a 2005 case in which he sexually assaulted a girl at Guam Memorial Hospital. He was sentenced to five years in prison for the molestation, but three years were suspended.