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Fargo father gets time served, 2 years' probation in death of infant daughter

FARGO - A Fargo father was sentenced Monday to two years of supervised probation in the smothering death of his 2-month-old baby girl last summer. Nicholas James Desjarlais was also sentenced to the time he's already served in jail, about 5 1/2 m...

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Nicholas James Desjarlais

FARGO - A Fargo father was sentenced Monday to two years of supervised probation in the smothering death of his 2-month-old baby girl last summer.

Nicholas James Desjarlais was also sentenced to the time he's already served in jail, about 5½ months, since being charged with negligent homicide, a Class C felony.

He pleaded guilty to the negligent homicide charge on Monday before his sentencing.

His wife and the baby's mother, Melinda Desjarlais, had asked the judge for leniency, calling him a "wonderful man."

Desjarlais fell asleep on the couch with his baby daughter in the early morning hours of Aug. 20, drunk after a night of celebrating his 30th birthday, authorities alleged in court records.

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He awoke to find the baby wedged between him and the back of the couch, within the curve of his arm, court records say. The little girl's lips were blue and she was pale. Paramedics pronounced the infant dead when they arrived at the north Fargo home.

An autopsy revealed the infant died of accidental positional asphyxia, brought on by her position between the couch and Desjarlais.

Desjarlais, who told police he had consumed about eight beers over the course of the night, had a 0.10 percent blood alcohol content as well as opiates in his system, according to court documents.

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