Court of Appeals Upholds Sentence for Duluth Man who Suffocated Daughter to Death

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has upheld a 40-year prison sentence for a Duluth man who suffocated his 13-month old daughter to death. 

According to the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office,  the Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that the district court did not err-as the appellant alleged- when it identified three aggravating factors for a longer prison sentence for 31-year-old Christopher Peterson. 

Peterson pleaded guilty in October of 2014 to the suffocation death of his daughter Layna in July of 2014.

Peterson admitted to police on several occasions that he had become frustrated with his daughter’s crying, and to stop her, he would place his hand over her mouth and pinch her nostrils closed. 

The guideline sentence for this crime is anywhere from 17 to 24 years, however, Peterson admitted that his crime included aggravating factors.

Those factors include the victim particularly vulnerable, the offense occurred in the victim’s zone of privacy, and Peterson treated the girl with particular cruelty. 

The district court found that Peterson’s “position of authority, superiority, confidence or trust” in relation to the victim was a fourth aggravating factor supporting the longer sentence. 

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