Boyfriend pleads guilty in baby's shaking death

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 | 9:29 a.m. CDT; updated 11:28 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 30, 2008

JOPLIN — A southwest Missouri man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the shaking death two years ago of his girlfriend's 2-month-old son.

Nicholas Hoth, 26, of Oronogo on Monday changed his plea to guilty in the shaking death of the infant at the home of the child's mother, Natasha Coulthard, in Webb City. Her son, Zechariah Coulthard, died of shaken-baby injuries suffered while in Hoth's care on Nov. 2, 2006.

Jasper County prosecutors say Hoth was allowed to plead guilty in exchange for a 15-year limit to prison time and dismissal of an assault charge. Sentencing was set for Dec. 1.

Police said Hoth told them that he shook the baby in an attempt to stop him from crying.

Last year, Hoth's attorney tried unsuccessfully to get his client declared mentally incompetent to stand trial, citing Hoth's IQ of 73 and various mental disorders.


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