40 years for baby sitter convicted in infant death

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File photo. (WLUK)

BARABOO (AP) – A 27-year-old baby sitter has been sentenced to 40 years in prison after an infant died in her care.

Jeanette Janusiak, of Reedsburg, was convicted in June of killing 4-month-old Payten Rain Shearer, the daughter of her best friend. Janusiak accused detectives and prosecutors of twisting evidence to support the theory of her guilt and told Judge Patrick Taggart that someone else was responsible for the skull fractures, broken leg and anal tear the child suffered.

“Me and my family are losing our lives for a life I didn’t take,” Janusiak said during a sentencing hearing Tuesday. “I have faith that the truth will prevail.”

Taggart responded that evidence in the case was “overwhelming.”

The Baraboo News Republic reported many in the courtroom cried as the infant’s mother, Angela Shearer, talked about her decision to keep Payten after considering giving her up for adoption. Janusiak supported her decision, and Shearer said she still struggles to understand how her former friend could have hurt her daughter. Shearer also questioned whether separating Janusiak from her own children would serve justice.

“The decision made today will not bring Payten back to me,” Shearer said. “Part of me wants nothing more than to see you hold your babies again.”

Janusiak asked why Shearer continued to rely on her for child care if she found bruises and cuts on her daughter as she claimed.

“I would never have brought my child back to that home,” Janusiak said.

District Attorney Kevin Calkins had asked for a 75-year sentence, while Janusiak’s attorney pushed for the minimum 20 years.

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