An Orem man who last month entered a no-contest plea to a charge of criminal homicide manslaughter in the death of a 71/2-month-old boy has been sentenced to a prison term of one to 15 years.
"I'm very sorry this happened," the defendant, Thomas Michael Soper, told 4th District Judge George E. Ballif on Friday.Soper's attorney, Ronald Stanger, asked for leniency, arguing that "there was no intent in this matter. This is a situation where in a split second something happened."
When Stanger asked Ballif to "look into his (Soper's) life as a whole," Ballif responded, "There's something I can't ignore, and that's the death of a child."
Soper, 49, originally was charged with second-degree murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of Chad Roy Talk, son of Roy and LaVay Talk, Orem. The charge was reduced to manslaughter, a second-degree felony, as a result of a plea agreement.
The child died Dec. 10, 1987, of head injuries suffered two days earlier at Soper's home. According to police reports, Soper's wife was baby-sitting the child and left him with the defendant while she went shopping.