A Lancaster man will serve at least 26 years in prison for slashing his infant daughter’s neck while kidnapping the girl in 2014.
David W. Sleets was convicted at trial in April of attempted murder and related counts regarding the Nov. 11, 2014, incident that started on East Frederick Street and ended at a Lancaster General Hospital parking lot.
Sleets, 37, kidnapped the baby, slashed the child’s neck, and placed her in a trash bag inside a backpack. Sleets ran a distance then tossed the bag, containing the baby, under a parked vehicle in the lot.
The child’s mother, who had followed Sleets, rescued the baby and took her to the hospital. The child would have died without emergency surgery.
Lancaster County Judge Donald Totaro on Thursday ordered a 26-to-52-year sentence, saying it was “unconscionable” that anyone could do such things to their own baby.
“You are an extreme danger to society,” Judge Totaro said, outlining Sleets’ criminal past, which includes appearances in court for 20 separate criminal cases and parole/probation violations.
Judge Totaro also said he considered Sleets’ mental illness in the sentence.
Sleets, a diagnosed schizophrenic, stopped taking his medication a few days before the crimes and became angry and resentful of the child’s mother. Sleets made a statement that he “would kill (his) own,” the judge pointed out.
Assistant District Attorney Karen Mansfield, who won the trial conviction, said the attack was indeed planned ahead of time.
“He didn’t just try to take her head off, he tried to suffocate her,” Mansfield said. “To this day, he’s shown zero remorse.”
When asked on two separate occasions by Judge Totaro, Sleets declined to make a statement.
Lancaster city police Detective Gareth Lowe, who filed charges, was in court for sentencing, along with two caretakers of the child, who has permanent scarring.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @BrettHambright