W.Va. father charged with murder in strangling death of baby

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia man who strangled his infant daughter has been charged with murder following her death after more than a year on life support, authorities said Friday.

Jeffrey Hoskins, 26, is facing first degree murder, fatal child abuse and strangulation charges for choking his then-6-month-old daughter Riana in October 2018, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Ross H. Mellinger said.

At a news conference Friday, Mellinger said Hoskins admitted to smothering the infant on four separate occasions before the incident that killed her, all in the attempt to get her to stop crying.

“In six months, this baby lived the worst of lives and died the cruelest of deaths,” he said.

Hoskins could only be charged with child abuse after the 2018 incident because his daughter was still alive in a medically induced coma, Mellinger said. He posted bond and was released from custody but was rearrested and jailed this month on an unrelated charge.

Riana was deaf and blind due to her injuries and was immediately placed on life support after the attack, Mellinger said. She died quickly after being removed from life support this month.

“She just couldn’t overcome it,” he said.

Mellinger said Hoskins has not shown any remorse for the child but has “made a variety of excuses” about what happened.

An attorney for Hoskins didn’t immediately return a message left at his office.

Authorities are still considering bringing additional charges against others involved with the child, said Mellinger.

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