An Antelope Valley man was sentenced to 11 years in state prison Monday for voluntary manslaughter in the February death of his 5-month-old daughter, who had been physically abused and poisoned by the drug methamphetamine.
Christopher M. Daugherty, 33, of Littlerock has been in county jail for the past 10 months and could be eligible for release in less than five years. He was sentenced by Lancaster Superior Court Judge Haig Kehiayan.
The Feb. 20 death of Sabreena Przybyszewski was one of six child abuse fatalities in the Antelope Valley during a 13-month period through June, 1992. The Times profiled the cases in September and reported that adult use of methamphetamine was involved in five of the six cases.
Authorities recently confirmed that a seventh child-abuse-related death since mid-1991 occurred in the area in July; a child's death in October is also being investigated as resulting from child abuse. In 1991, the Antelope Valley had the highest per capita rate of reported criminal child abuse of any area patrolled by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies.
Daugherty pleaded no contest to manslaughter earlier this month in exchange for dismissal of a murder charge. Elizabeth A. Przybyszewski, 21, of Palmdale--the infant's mother and Daugherty's estranged girlfriend--also pleaded no contest to felony child abuse and faces sentencing Jan. 4.
In a probation report, Daugherty acknowledged he used methamphetamine and that his daughter's drug poisoning was due to his negligence, but he denied giving her the drug. Daugherty's attorney, meanwhile, maintained the infant's mother physically abused her.
Outside, attorney David Wallin said he had witnesses who would have testified that the girl's mother, also a drug user, did not want the baby. She faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail, Wallin said.
The county coroner concluded that the infant died of drug poisoning and physical abuse. Authorities never established how the drug got into the child's system, but Daugherty had custody of her just prior to her death. Przybyszewski's family has maintained they saw no signs of abuse.