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Father’s killing of mother established TPR grounds

State v. F.E.L., 2017AP2489, 6/5/18, District 1 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

F.E.L. seeks to withdraw his no contest plea at the grounds phase of his TPR proceeding. He contends there was an insufficient factual basis for the single ground he pled to, failure to assume parental responsibility.

F.E.L. is serving a 20-year initial confinement sentence for shooting and killing the child’s mother when the child was two months old. The court of appeals finds this to be an adequate factual basis under the totality of the circumstances:

The trial court… found that F.E.L. had exposed A.A.W. to “an extremely dangerous level of domestic violence” during the first two months of his life, and further, that in killing A.J.W., F.E.L. had “render[ed] both himself and [A.J.W.] unavailable to provide necessary care” for A.A.W. Thus, we conclude that the record fully and completely supports the trial court’s finding that F.E.L.’s failure to assume parental responsibility was firmly established through his actions that ended A.J.W.’s life and permanently altered A.A.W.’s life as well as his own. Accordingly, we affirm.


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