Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

A Meridian, Idaho, woman pleaded guilty Thursday in Baker County Circuit Court to criminally negligent homicide in the death of her young niece, Anastasia Salgy, whom she was caring for on Sept. 20, 2014, in Baker City.

Judge Greg Baxter sentenced Kira Vansickle, 27, to 42 months in prison, District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff stated in a press release.

The plea was made after a settlement conference Thursday between Shirtcliff and Van Sickle’s attorneys, Robert Whitnah of Baker City and Robert Raschio of Canyon City.

Shirtcliff said the plea agreement allowed attorneys from both sides to argue for a prison sentence for Vansickle between 16 months and 55 months.

After hearing the arguments Thursday, Baxter sentenced Van Sickle to the 42-month prison term with three years post-prison supervision upon release.

“Judge Baxter indicated in his decision that the 42-month sentence was warranted due to the plea being based on facts related to the death of a child and the brain injury the victim suffered,” Shirtcliff stated in the press release.

Shirtcliff said the sentencing guidelines call for an 18-month prison term for criminally negligent homicide unless the death involves driving under the influence of intoxicants. In that case, the standard sentencing increases up to 36 months in prison.

The agreed upon higher range was based on dismissal of the charges of murder and first-degree assault in the plea agreement.

“We felt this was a fair result in considering that the defendant’s actions in injuring the child were likely done under duress and in a spontaneous moment of frustration,” Shirtcliff stated.

“This agreement allowed the court to consider all aspects of the case from the defendant’s lack of criminal history to the gravity of the loss of life of an infant.”

Gaining a homicide-related conviction as opposed to an assault conviction also was important to the state, “so that there was recognition of the loss of life,” Shirtcliff said.

Anastasia remained hospitalized until her death on June 1, 2016, due to complications of pneumonia at the age of 2 .

Shirtcliff said the baby had been transferred from Idaho to a care center in Utah where she had suffered significant health issues because of her head injury before she died.

A grand jury issued a new indictment on Aug. 8, 2017, charging Vansickle with murder, first-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault.

See more in the Oct. 23, 2017, issue of the Baker City Herald.