As usual, the media is ignoring this father's past history of separating this girl from her mother and denying the mother contact. CLINTON JOSEPH HART may not have administered the "fatal blows" but everything in this guy's background screams "control freak/abuser." As a culture, we are very unforgiving of moms who "allow" their 200 lb. boyfriend to beat the kids to death--even when Mom is also being beatened/threatened. So I have no sympathy for this dude. He could have stopped the abuse if he wanted. I sincerely doubt that his girlfriend was bigger or stronger than he was.
Kearns man ordered to prison for his part in daughter's death; ex-girlfriend delivered fatal blows
Published: Monday, Aug. 8, 2011 6:09 p.m. MDT By Emiley Morgan, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Marina Navarro wasn't there to see her former boyfriend receive a prison sentence for the fatal beating that she delivered to the man's daughter.
But her name was everywhere in court Monday as a number of people told 3rd District Judge Robert Faust that whatever Navarro did to Vanessa Hart, the girl's father — Clinton Joseph Hart — should have known about it.
"My daughter was a sweet, innocent little 4-year-old who did not deserve to be abused and have her life taken by someone who should have protected her," Stephanie Alfaro, the girl's mother, said.
Faust agreed, handing down four concurrent sentences of one to 15 years in prison for charges of child abuse homicide and three counts of child abuse, all second-degree felonies, to the 22-year-old man.
"There is no doubt you loved your daughter, which is … so tragic because you were the only one who could have protected her … and you failed to do so," the judge said.
Hart's daughter, Vanessa, died June 13, 2010, from what doctors at Primary Children's Medical Center described as "multiple severe injuries," including head trauma and swelling of her brain.
Hart was initially charged with murder, a first-degree felony, but he pleaded to a reduced charge, largely because Hart was at work when it is believed his daughter sustained the fatal injuries.
He was working when Navarro sent him a text message saying that Vanessa had fallen down the stairs, was lethargic and was having a hard time breathing. He returned to find his daughter unresponsive, but prosecutors were adamant that it was a pattern of abuse that led to the girl's death.
"(Hart) certainly bears responsibility for failing to protect his daughter from a pattern of torture," prosecutor Rob Parrish said, before reading a number of threatening text messages Navarro sent Hart.
"The child's spirit and body was broken by both of these people," Parrish said. "Vanessa should be here today. She should be a thriving, happy 5-year-old, not the victim of a perfect storm created by her natural father."
Defense attorney Steven Shapiro said that while his client was involved in some "inappropriate discipline," the severity of the injuries that would lead to Vanessa's death was "unforeseeable" to the amateur father.
"Nobody had any idea Marina was going to do that to that girl," Shapiro said. "The thing that couldn't be foreseen was the gravity of the injuries Marina inflicted."
He said Navarro, who was pregnant with Hart's child at the time Vanessa died, constantly threatened to leave the man and take the unborn child with her.
Still, Hart said he was almost at a loss for words over the tragedy.
"I made mistakes," Hart said tearfully. "I missed signs, and I've done things I should not have, and they are all things I can now no longer change."
He said that he struggled to hear himself characterized as a poor father and a "bad person." He said his daughter was an "inspiration" to him.
"I have disciplined and I have seen my daughter disciplined by Marina," Hart said tearfully. "It did not seem a bad thing compared to what I grew up with … but now I can't describe how much pain I'm in to have to live with this for the rest of my life."
The girl's mother and grandmother said they repeatedly tried to track down the girl and her younger brother, but Hart was evasive. They felt Hart was just as responsible as Navarro and were not satisfied with the sentence.
"Naturally, I want death," Alfaro said. "I don't feel it's fair. He did not get the sentence he deserved. Who fails to take care of their child (to this degree)?"
Navarro has pleaded guilty to murder, a first-degree felony. She was originally facing charges of capital murder and three counts of child abuse, a second-degree felony. She will be sentenced Aug. 29.