Duluth Man's Conviction in Baby's Death Upheld by Appeals Court

Posted at: 01/22/2013 12:36 PM
Updated at: 01/26/2013 4:45 PM
By: Alan Hoglund

nullThe Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Duluth man in connection with the death of 11-month-old Connor Robison in 2008.

A jury found Michael Tahtinen guilty of First Degree Manslaughter in October of 2011 on the third day of deliberation. They also found him not guilty on two counts of Second Degree Murder.

According to the opinion issued Tuesday morning, "we [judges] contend that sufficient evidence supports the jury's verdict, and we therefore affirm Tahtinen's conviction."

Also in that ruling, the judges say "we must defer to the jury's credibility determinations and ability to weigh the evidence."

During Tahtinen's sentencing hearing in November of 2011, both families defended Tahtinen's innocence. Tahtinen also read a statement asking the judge to grant him leniency. But he was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison.

Following sentencing, Tahtinen's wife told Eyewitness News "I am livid. I am so furious. I knew it was going to come down that way."

Also following that sentencing hearing, Robison's mother, said "I think this entire thing has been an entire miscarriage of justice, period. This should have never happened."

Robison died in a West Duluth home on September 4, 2008. He suffered from severe bruising to his abdomen and internal bleeding. A medical examiner said those injuries are what caused his death.

During trial, the defense argued Robison's death was caused by an accidental fall from a crib. But the prosecution argued that the infant died from blunt force trauma, which they say was not caused by CPR or a fall.