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Stepfather Found Guilty In Shaken Baby Case

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Tylar James Hokanson, shaken baby

(credit: Dakota County Sheriff’s Office)

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jurors found a 24-year-old man guilty of causing the injuries that led to the death of his young stepson.

The 12-member jury in the case of Tylar Hokanson resumed deliberations at 9 a.m. Thursday in Hastings, Minn. By noon, they had reached their verdict and found Hokanson guilty on four counts of murder.

Shortly after, he was sentenced by a judge to life in prison for repeatedly shaking the 17-month-old boy and refusing to get him medical treatment back in June 2009.

Prosecutors said that Hokanson shook his stepson, causing bleeding in his brain, a broken back, blunt force trauma and other injuries. The little boy, Nicholas Miller, died several days later at a relative’s house in Pierce County, Wis.

“Nicholas Miller suffered horrific injuries through actions of his stepfather,” said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom in a statement. “We are pleased to have brought Tylar Hokanson to justice for this violent crime.”

In all, the trial lasted two and a half weeks, with jury deliberations lasting 31 hours.

Nicholas Miller’s death outraged so many, including complete strangers.

“I felt very emotional that it was over,” said September Lukic of Shoreview. “There is something in Nicholas’ picture, he is one of the most beautiful children I have ever seen. He looks like an angel.”

Lukic never knew Nicholas, but as a mother and stepmother, she says his obituary spoke to her. She started a Facebook page to offer Nicholas a voice. It climbed past 1,600 supporters on Thursday. People who have written from countries as far as Finland and the Ukraine have demanded justice for the boy.

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