Gilbert Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter and Child Abuse in Death of 13-Month-Old Girl

A Gilbert man, initially charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 13-month-old girl, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in a Maricopa County Superior Court this morning.

David Arnold Reed III, 23, copped to manslaughter and child abuse in the 2009 beating death of Cheree Goard, the daughter of his girlfriend.

Reed stood trial for the murder charge last month but the jury came back deadlocked. Another trial was scheduled for this month but Reid took the plea deal.

It's still unclear exactly how the baby died. When he was arrested, Reed told police the baby fell 21 inches off of a couch onto a padded, carpeted floor.

After what Reed claimed was a "fall," the baby was taken to the hospital, where she was declared brain dead upon arrival. She died two days later. 

According to court documents, autopsy results found two 5-inch-long skull fractures on each side of the baby's skull and there was "extensive swelling" of the brain and subdural bleeding.

"Based on the injuries, David's reported story is not consistent with the injuries found," court docs state. "The injuries were received while the child was solely in David's immediate care."

Reed is scheduled to be sentenced by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Gottsfield on October 25.

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