Sigourney Man Receives Sentence for Death of Baby


A Sigourney man was sentenced for the death of an infant in Oskaloosa.

24-year-old Johnny Dale Jr. was sentenced to up to 30 years in prison. There is no mandatory minimum that Dale must serve in order to be eligible for parole.

Dale was originally charged with first-degree murder stemming from the death of a four-month-old boy in 2019 which carries a life sentence in prison if convicted.

The court later accepted an Alford plea and Dale pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of child endangerment causing serious injury, willful injury causing serious injury, and neglect of a child. Each offense is a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains their innocence but concedes the state has enough evidence for a conviction.

On June 15, 2019, Dale was left to care for his girlfriend’s child while she went to work, according to court records.

Dale told investigators he became frustrated with the baby and in an effort to get the infant to sleep, he bounced the infant on an air mattress. The baby’s mother remarked that the baby was healthy when she left but when she returned, her son had a bruise on his head and was pale and unresponsive.

The baby was taken to the hospital the following day after experiencing seizure-like symptoms. The infant suffered severe injuries to his brain and spinal column, injuries that doctors considered consistent with child abuse.

The baby died on June 21, 2019.

(photo from The Ottumwa Courier)

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