FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A Fort Wayne man has pleaded guilty in the death of a young child last year.
Shaquille S. Rowe agreed to plead guilty to a new charge of Voluntary Manslaughter in the May 17, 2021, beating death of 17-month-old Aiden M. Clark.
The deal with Allen County prosecutors will drop initial charges of Murder, Aggravated Battery, and Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Death, and calls for Rowe to serve 20 years in prison followed by 5 years of probation.
A judge must still accept the deal. A sentencing hearing is set for Aug. 12.
It was around 12:30 p.m. that mid-May day when Fort Wayne Police were alerted about a child who was taken from a home in the 2700 block of Millbrook Drive, in the Brookmill Courts Apartments complex off Covington Road, to an area hospital in critical condition.
The child died at the hospital.
The Allen County Coroner’s Office said young Aiden died of blunt force injuries of the chest, and his death was ruled a homicide.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Rowe said he was in the shower when he heard crying. He said he got out and found the toddler was not breathing, and he started to perform CPR.
Medics who treated the toddler found bruising around his neck and chest possibly related to “some type of abuse,” the affidavit said.
An autopsy found the child had suffered a fractured sternum and his “heart was ripped in half,” the affidavit said. The toddler suffered a torn pericardium sac which led to a “massive amount of hemorrhaging.” He also suffered blunt force trauma to his left midsection, a lacerated spleen and hemorrhaging around his left kidney and pancreas.
Doctors noted the child likely died two to five minutes after suffering his injuries, the affidavit said.
Rowe was the only adult present in the home with the child, police said.