A Des Moines man sentenced to 50 years in prison for abusing his infant son will stay in prison, but the Iowa Supreme Court is granting a review of some aspects of the case — and it could lead to a new trial.
In July of 2009 Ethan Neiderbach was less than seven weeks old when he suffered a broken arm, broken ribs and a permanent brain injury. The child’s mother pled guilty to child endangerment and is serving a 20 year sentence. Jonas Neiderbach, the baby’s father, appealed his convictions on six counts of child endangerment.
The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled the evidence was insufficient on two of those counts, related to the baby’s broken ribs. In addition, the state’s high court has ruled the district court erred when it did not let Neiderbach’s lawyer review the mental health records of the baby’s mother. The Supreme Court has ordered the district court to review those records, search for evidence Neiderbach might have used to cross-examine the baby’s mother, and order a new trial if such evidence is found.
The baby at the center of this case was adopted by an aunt and uncle. Ethan Neiderbach, who is now four years old, cannot move his legs, can barely move his arms and cannot hold his head up on his own. Doctors do not expect his condition to improve.