A 23-year-old Oregon man previously convicted of assaulting a federal officer during protests against George Floyd’s death will spend more than a decade behind bars for viciously torturing and beating his newborn son to death.
Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Lavin on Friday ordered Dakota Kurtis Means to serve a sentence of 12 years and 6 months in prison for the 2021 slaying of 6-week-old Hunter Means, prosecutors announced.
According to a press release from Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, Means reached a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to one count each of first-degree manslaughter and first-degree criminal mistreatment for inflicting the fatal injuries on his infant son. In exchange for pleading guilty, prosecutors dropped several other charges against Means, including one count of second-degree murder.
According to a report from The Oregonian, Means and Hunter’s mother on April 17, 2021, were watching the boy inside their North Portland apartment. The mother then asked Means to change Hunter’s diaper while she smoked a cigarette. But moments later, she heard Means screaming and ran back inside to see him holding their son, who reportedly appeared limp and unresponsive.
The then-married couple brought the child to a local hospital where doctors diagnosed him with multiple brain hemorrhages and several broken ribs which they indicated that the newborn had been abused on a number of occasions. The child was placed on life support where he remained until he was pronounced dead on June 23 at the age of only 3 months.
In court documents obtained by The Oregonian, prosecutors said that Means exhibited “extreme indifference to the value of human life” by beating the baby to death. Prosecutors also said that Hunter’s injuries showed that Means had “previously engaged in a pattern and practice of assault and torture” of the newborn.
At Friday’s sentencing hearing, an attorney for Hunter’s mother read a victim impact statement in which she recounted being pregnant with Hunter and playing Taylor Swift’s “Never Grow Up” on repeat, the Oregonian reported.
“I never imagined that it’d be a reality,” the statement said. “Hunter’s death still to this day makes me feel a hole in my heart. It will never go away. He was my honeybear. My everything.”
At the time of his arrest for Hunter’s death, Means was on probation for assaulting a federal officer during 2020 protests in Portland following the death of George Floyd.
Means was sentenced to 60 days time served and one year of supervised release for threatening a federal employee amid the heated, sometimes violent protests over white police officer Derek Chauvin killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck for several minutes while he was in custody. Chauvin was later convicted of second-degree murder in that case.
According to federal prosecutors, Means followed the federal employee on Aug. 24, 2020, cursing at the individual and threatening them while brandishing a paintball gun.
“It’s a paintball gun now, but it’s going to be an AR later,” Means said in the DOJ’s account. Authorities suggested that Means was referring to an AR-15 assault rifle.
Online records show Means pleaded guilty to one count of assault on a federal officer. He was sentenced back on Jan. 25, 2021.
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