A California man is scheduled to be sentenced this week in La Paz County Superior Court following his conviction of multiple felony charges in the death of his daughter. Aaron Freeman, 26, of Blythe, Calif. was convicted Oct. 1 following a trial on nine of 11 counts in the death of his daughter, Autumn Shibley, in 2017. He is scheduled to be sentenced at 10 a.m. Nov. 26 in La Paz County Superior Court.
The jury found Shibley was abused by Freeman June 10, 2017 at the tire store in Ehrenberg, Ariz. where he worked. This abuse caused a ruptured stomach, which proved to be fatal. Shibley died in Loma Linda Children’s Hospital the following day.
Shibley was three years old at the time.
The jury found Freeman guilty on nine counts, including first degree murder; second degree murder, a dangerous crime against children; child abuse, a dangerous crime against children for the ruptured stomach; aggravated assault on a minor, a dangerous crime against children for the ruptured stomach; aggravated assault on minor for the ruptured stomach; child abuse for a strike to Shibley’s face; aggravated assault for a strike to Shibley’s face; acting in a criminally negligent manner; and aggravated assault on a minor for smashing Shibley’s hand in a door.
The case is being heard before a visiting Judge, Robert Duper of Pinal County.
Freeman was indicted on 10 felony counts on Oct. 20, 2017. A plea agreement was reached in late 2018, but the original judge on the case, former La Paz County Superior Court Judge Matthew Newman, said he would not accept it. After Newman left the bench, he was replaced by Duper due to a conflict with the new Superior Court Judge, Jessica Quickle. Duper informed the attorneys, Matthew Frame for the defense and Rachel Shackleford for the state, that he would not accept the plea agreement rejected by Newman.
In March 2019, Freeman declared he was rejecting all plea agreements and wanted to go to trial.