Mother takes plea in baby’s death

Kephart agrees to endangerment, involuntary manslaughter

CLEARFIELD — The trial for a Clearfield County woman charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of her infant daughter was canceled after she signed a plea agreement Thursday.

Alexa Lynn Kephart, 23, Grampian, agreed to plead guilty to felony endangering the welfare of a child and misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter in the case.

The 39-day-old baby was found unconscious and blue when the parents woke about 10:14 a.m. July 1, 2020, police said. She had been sleeping with them in a full-sized bed along with her 22-month-old brother.

The baby was lying against her mother on her left side, facing her mother and covered with a blanket, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

She was later pronounced dead at Penn Highlands DuBois.

Both Kephart and the baby’s father, Dakota James Lynn Canfield, 24, were subjected to a drug test that same day.

Kephart reportedly tested positive for methamphetamine, amphetamines, marijuana and ecstasy while Canfield was positive for those substances plus alcohol.

During the initial investigation, it was discovered that the couple had an open case with Clearfield County Children, Youth and Family Services.

Records indicated that when Kephart gave birth, she tested positive for both methamphetamine and amphetamines.

District Attorney Ryan Sayers stated in an interview that the plea “was a good result for the commonwealth” and noted that “anytime that we can come to a resolution of guilt,” it is a good thing “because you never know what a jury will do.”

“This way, we got justice for the child,” Sayers said.

Kephart could serve anywhere from three months to five years for involuntary manslaughter and three months to seven years for endangering the welfare of a child, Sayers said, explaining that he would be asking the judge to make the two sentences consecutive.

She will be scheduled for sentencing within 90 days.

Canfield is also charged in the case — with two felony counts of endangering the welfare of children and misdemeanor recklessly endangering another person.

Sayers pointed out that Canfield was ready to testify against Kephart about her drug issue, which was part of the reason Kephart agreed to plead guilty Thursday.

Canfield had also signed a plea agreement, but it was withdrawn in October due to him having three additional cases filed in 2021, Sayers said.

Two of these are driving under the influence charges and the third is a drug possession and paraphernalia case, all of which are still pending.


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