BOWLING GREEN — A Wayne County man was not responsible for the gruesome death of his 20-month-old son, who drank drain cleaner allegedly used to make methamphetamine, a jury ruled Friday.
The jury acquitted Bryan Daniels, 22, of murder in the May 30, 2009, death of his son Kayden, as well as an alternate charge of second-degree manslaughter.
After deliberating nearly seven hours, the jury also found Daniels not guilty on charges of endangering Kayden and of being involved in a criminal syndicate to produce meth.
Circuit Judge Vernon Miniard Jr. earlier ruled Daniels not guilty on a charge of making meth.
Daniels and members of his family and defense team, led by Somerset attorney Mark Stanziano, burst into tears and hugged when Miniard announced the verdict. Daniels has served 44 months in jail or on house arrest since Kayden died and faced a sentence of 20 years to life if convicted of murder. Instead, he left the courthouse a free man nearly four years after his son’s death. Daniels was tried in Warren Circuit Court in Bowling Green because a jury could not be seated in Wayne County.
Daniels said the first thing he plans to do is visit Kayden’s grave, which he has never seen.
“I’m very happy, very happy,” Daniels said. “Kayden was with me today. He knowed I wouldn’t do nothing to hurt him.”
Daniels said he has a job lined up remodeling restaurants in Indiana, and he said he will try to improve his life.
Daniels said he shouldn’t have been charged with causing his son’s death.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew Leveridge had no comment on the verdict.
However, he said he will prosecute three others charged in connection with Kayden’s death. They are Danny Anderson Jr. and James Hunt, who allegedly made meth in the bedroom of the small mobile home where Kayden lived and are charged with murder, and Larry Branham, who rented the trailer and allegedly facilitated the crimes.
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