Father sentenced in daughter’s death

A Franklin man found guilty last month in the 2015 death of his 7-month-old daughter was given a 30-year prison sentence by a Johnson County judge.

Christopher M. Potts, 22, was sentenced to 30 years in prison with five years suspended after he was found guilty in March of a felony charge of battery causing death to a child under the age of 14 following a jury trial.

“I don’t think you are a monster,” Johnson County Superior Court 3 Judge Lance Hamner said to Potts as he began his pre-sentencing remarks. “I think you did a monstrous thing.”

Prosecutors said Potts threw the baby girl into her crib in frustration in a Franklin apartment in September 2015, causing a skull fracture and a ruptured artery that killed her. Potts had initially told police he didn’t know what happened to the baby, and then mentioned other scenarios where she could have been injured on accident, but a pathologist told police those scenarios wouldn’t have caused the extent of damage the baby suffered.

Potts eventually told police he threw his daughter in anger.

Potts maintained his innocence throughout the trial. His attorney, Matthew Solomon, argued that the confession was invalid and that police failed to consider scenarios in which the child could have been harmed accidentally.

Hamner described the death of 7-month old Felicity Anderson as an unjustifiable crime against an absolutely defenseless child.

Speaking on behalf of Felicity’s mother, Johnson County Deputy Prosecutor Carrie Miles told Hamner that the mother had done her best to care for her child, and would forever miss the opportunities to see her young child grow up.

Prosecutors pushed for the maximum sentence of 30 years, but acknowledged that even that sentence couldn’t truly resolve the situation.

“No amount of justice can bring Felicity back,” Miles said.

The sentence Hamner gave was appropriate and would send a message that these crimes are taken seriously in Johnson County, she said.

“The history of our species is that we protect our young,” Hamner said

As the father of a young, helpless child, it was Potts’ responsibility to be her protector, he said.

“You killed your baby girl, and you know what you did,” Hamner said.

Potts declined an opportunity to address the judge. He will receive credit for 581 days served in jail.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.