Minnesota Father Who Beat 2-Month-Old Daughter to Death, Then Blamed Injuries on Family's Cat Sentenced

Kristopher Henderson
Kristopher Henderson and his daughter, Adaline. Facebook

A Minnesota man who initially blamed his baby daughter's death on the family cat was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for beating her to death.

Kristopher Henderson, 41, made a plea deal with prosecutors in connection with the November 2021 death of his 2-month-old daughter, Adaline.

Henderson took an Alford plea, meaning he refused to admit guilt but acknowledged that a jury would probably convict him of second-degree murder given the evidence in the case, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin. He will get credit for the 526 days of time already served and be eligible for parole after two-thirds of his sentence.

Henderson Told Girlfriend He Found Cat 'Laying On' the Baby

Henderson and his girlfriend, Shelby Goodrich, took Adaline to a hospital near their home in Mankato on Sept. 23, 2021, according to a police report. The baby girl was suffering from brain hemorrhaging, had two broken legs and several broken ribs, doctors said.

Henderson initially tried to shift the blames for his heinous act to the family cat. Baby Adaline's mother, Shelby Goodrich told investigators that she left her in 'good health' with Henderson on the morning of September 23. Later, however, around 5 pm in the evening, she received a call from Henderson, alleging that he found their 20-pound cat 'laying on' the baby.

Doctor Ruled Henderson's Claims as Inconsistent

"The individual injuries and the collection of injuries are consistent with non-accidental trauma," a doctor wrote. "The cat that father states was around the infant is not the cause of these injuries."

"I'm not that damn person, man," the complaint quoted Henderson telling investigators in response to the doctor's report. Henderson denied harming his daughter but allegedly acknowledged that he might have been "a little rough" while changing her diaper.

Henderson also allegedly admitted that on the day Adaline went to the hospital, he "cradled the child face down in his arms and struck her back more forcefully than usual for what he estimated was five minutes," according to court records.

Henderson also allegedly admitted that the blows were hard enough to break his daughter's ribs, the Star Tribune reported.

After nearly a week of treatment, doctors determined that Adaline showed "little to no brain activity," court documents stated. She was pronounced dead on Nov. 3, 2021.

Henderson Also Sentenced in Separate Assault Case

Henderson was also sentenced Tuesday in a 2019 assault case in which he was accused of beating his roommate over a utility bill, the news organization reported. He was convicted of third-degree assault and sentenced to two years in prison, which he will serve concurrently with his murder sentence, according to Southern Minnesota News.