A boy who was shaken by his father when he was 4 months old died March 20 after spending 12 years in a vegetative state.
Aiden Stein had been blind and deaf since the incident in March 2004, for which his father, Matthew Stein, served an eight-year prison sentence.
Aiden was kept alive on life support.
Stein was convicted of felonious assault and child endangerment in September 2005, although he always maintained his innocence.
“He must have had the strongest heart on the planet because he fought through so much,” Richmond County Prosecutor Bambi Couch Page told WKYC upon hearing of Aiden’s death.
Stein made a series of attempts to secure a retrial, alleging that new evidence had emerged. He said Aiden had choked on milk and that the bleeding in his brain was caused by a medical condition.
But applications to a common pleas court and an appeals court were rejected.
“You destroyed the potential that baby Aiden had. What could Aiden have achieved?” Judge James DeWeese said to Stein at his 2005 sentencing hearing. “How many years did you take away from Aiden? How many years to you deserve for the years you took away from him?”
Stein was released from prison after serving his eight-year term in August 2013.
Stein and Aiden’s mother, Arica Heimlich, gave up their parental rights in a deal with Richmond County. Aiden was cared for by his grandmother, Dawn Mansfield.
“We are saddened to learn of Aiden's passing. We offer our condolences to his family and others who have provided him with loving care for the past 12 years,” Patty Harrelson, executive of Richmond County Children’s Services, said in a statement, according to WMFD.
Aiden managed to eat without a feeding tube for a time after 2008 and lived at Mansfield’s home.
“This kid has had some serious medical episodes,” Aiden’s court-appointed lawyer, Dale Musilli, told Cleveland.com in 2009. “He’s a tough little guy and has pulled back each time.”