Former Greene County woman pleads guilty in son’s death

March 7, 2014
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Heather Forsythe
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Patrick Haney, Jr.
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Trenton Lewis St. Clair

UNIONTOWN– A former Carmichaels woman pleaded guilty Wednesday in Fayette County to endangering the welfare of a child in the 2011 beating death of her 4-year old son, Trenton Lewis St. Clair.

Heather Forsythe, 30, of Point Marion agreed to testify against Patrick Haney, Jr., 30, who is charged with criminal homicide in the death of the boy. Haney potentially faces the death penalty if convicted.

At the time of the boy’s death, Haney was the live-in boyfriend of Forsythe. She told police Haney was abusing her son for days. Police alleged Forsythe did nothing to stop the abuse.

She testified to leaving Haney alone with her son and hearing a “ruckus” upstairs upon her return. She said she found Haney standing over her son, slapping and hitting him, at which point she said she attempted to stop Haney but got into an altercation with Haney. Forsythe claims she wanted to call her family or take St. Clair to the hospital, but Haney said she was overreacting.

St. Clair later died at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va. An emergency room physician who testified at Haney’s pretrial hearing in October 2012 said this was “one of the worst, if not the worst, abuse cases” she had seen.

An autopsy report listed the cause of death as peritonitis from an abdominal injury caused by battering. St. Clair also had injuries to his eyes, neck, chin, jaw, arms and legs.

Police said Haney admitted hitting St. Clair in the back of the head and in the face as a form of discipline.

Prosecutors have recommended a 2 ½-to-five-year sentence for Forsythe.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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