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Published January 28 2010

Plea deal still in works in baby death

A plea deal is still being discussed for Arthur Mark Berger, the man accused of killing a 2-month-old baby girl by passing out drunk on her while he baby-sat.

Berger’s attorney asked Cass County District Court Judge Georgia Dawson on Wednesday for a postponement that delays setting a trial date another four weeks.

Cherie Clark, assistant Cass County state’s attorney, didn’t object and told Dawson there has been “constant communication” about a deal. The hearing was continued to Feb. 24.

Dan Gast, Berger’s attorney, said he hopes to reach a deal because there is little factual dispute in the case.

Police believe Berger was baby-sitting the infant on Oct. 30 when her parents were at The Nestor in Fargo for the night. When they came back after closing time to their home in the 1300 block of First Avenue North, they found Berger passed out on top of their daughter.

Berger is charged with manslaughter, a Class B felony with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and child neglect, a Class C felony with a maximum sentence of five years.

No potential deal terms were disclosed, but Gast said that Berger, a family friend who has baby-sat for the parents before, should not face a long prison term.