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Published July 01 2010

Moorhead man guilty of assaulting infant girl

A Clay County jury found a Moorhead man guilty of fracturing the skull of an infant he was baby-sitting, reaching a verdict Tuesday night after a five-day trial, Clay County Attorney Brian Melton said.

James David Leach, a 31-year-old, had been accused of first-degree assault after the 8-month-old girl he was baby-sitting on June 3, 2009, was hospitalized with head injuries requiring surgery.

Leach told police the girl had fallen out of a laundry basket, but doctors said the injuries were so severe it would take a fall of at least 10 feet to cause them, according to court records.

Sentencing will be held at a later date. According to state guidelines, a first-degree assault conviction draws a presumed sentence of seven years and two months if the defendant has no criminal history.