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Missouri woman pleads to 2009 infant death

IRONTON, Mo. (AP) -- A southeast Missouri woman will be sentenced in May for the 2009 death of an infant at her home babysitting business.

Martha Farris, of Pilot Knob, entered an Alford plea Wednesday to first-degree involuntary manslaughter in the death of 3-month-old Sam Pratt. The plea is not an admission of guilt, but acknowledges that prosecutors have sufficient evidence to gain a conviction. Attorney General Chris Koster's office prosecuted the case in Iron County. Koster's office says an autopsy showed that Sam died of non-accidental head trauma.

The attorney general says Farris told investigators she swung the baby, "plunked" him down hard on a couch and elbowed him in the head. The case prompted legislation limiting the ability of Missouri child care centers to continue operating while charges are pending.

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