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Meridian mom pleads guilty to murder in infant's death

Two-month-old Dawson McKinney died from severe head injuries in May 2020.

BOISE, Idaho — A 28-year-old Meridian woman pleaded guilty last week to first-degree murder in the death of her two-month-old son.

Danielle Radue entered an Alford plea, under which she maintains her innocence but admits that the prosecution has more than enough evidence to convict her. Alford pleas still result in a conviction and are treated the same as a traditional guilty plea in terms of sentencing. 

Radue was arrested in May 2020 after 2-month-old Dawson McKinney was brought to the hospital with a severe head injury. 

The baby had a fractured skull, bleeding in his brain, and eye hemorrhages, according to doctors who examined him. Radue called for an ambulance from a neighbor's house after the baby began struggling to breathe, officials said. 

The infant died in the hospital days later. 

According to prosecutors, Radue gave conflicting explanations on how the boy was hurt, telling detectives that he had fallen off a couch, that she had tripped and fallen while holding him, and finally that she had forcefully put him on the floor in a moment of frustration.

She told police that she had not meant to hurt the baby. 

Radue has been free on a $1 million bond since August 2020.

Sentencing in the case is set for June 29. Radue faces up to life in prison. 

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