Long Beach Couple Pleads No Contest In 31-Day-Old Daughter’s Death

LONG BEACH (CBS) — A Long Beach couple whose 31-day-old daughter died last summer pleaded no contest Friday to felony child abuse and were immediately sentenced to prison terms.

Long Beach Superior Court Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani sentenced the baby’s mother, Melissa Swanson, 35, to nine years behind bars, according to Deputy District Attorney Carol Rose.

Michael Cross, 42, the father, was sentenced to nine years and eight months in state prison.

In addition to the child abuse count, the two also admitted allegations of child abuse resulting in death and use of a dangerous weapon — a hard surface, the prosecutor said.

Cross additionally pleaded no contest to a charge of possession of cocaine base, Rose said.

The two were charged in the Aug. 11, 2011, death of their daughter, Michaela. Paramedics were called to their home in the 600 block of Magnolia Avenue, where the baby was in cardiac arrest, and tried unsuccessfully to save her.

The infant died from blunt force trauma to the head. She suffered numerous injuries over a two-week period before her death, including two black eyes and a burn on the cheek and under the chin, the prosecutor said.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)



More From CBS Los Angeles

KNX 1070 Newsradio

Listen Live