26 year-old Marc Palmer was sentenced in Missoula District Court on Tuesday to 40 years in prison with five years suspended for negligent homicide and other charges related to the smothering death of a five month-old child.

Deputy Missoula County Attorney Brian Lowney was the chief prosecutor in the case.

"Mr. Palmer was charged with three offenses that he plead 'no contest' to," Lowney began. "They were negligent homicide, criminal endangerment and tampering with physical evidence. The negligent homicide charge stems from him smothering a five month-old child in the middle of the night on March 30, 2016 while the child was crying, and the child died as a result of being smothered. Tampering with evidence was when he destroyed some disposable wipes that he used to get blood off the child, and the criminal endangerment charge stemmed from an unrelated assault of another child within the home."

Lowney describes the sentenced handed down by District Judge James Wheelis.

"He was sentenced to a total of 40 years in the Montana State Prison with five years suspended," he said. "What that means is he has a 35 year prison sentence with a five year probationary tail on the end. He was given 20 years on the negligent homicide charge which was the maximum penalty, 10 years for the tampering charge and then 10 years with five suspended on the criminal endangerment charge."

Palmer's prior criminal history in Washington state was discussed during the sentencing hearing, but Lowney could not say if it was a factor. When he was 15, Palmer was sentenced for child sexual abuse.

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