Kyle Gooch

A Salt Lake City defense attorney has been appointed to represent a Logan man accused of killing a baby girl in December, just days before her first birthday.

Kyle Gooch, 30, was charged with aggravated murder — a capital offense — in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s daughter, who police say was found dead in her crib at about 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 15, tightly swaddled in a blue blanket, with obvious signs of trauma on her head.

According to court records, an autopsy report completed in April this year showed 13 different blunt force injuries to the baby’s head, including numerous bruises and abrasions to her face, all of which are “consistent with inflicted pressure as might occur with smothering.”

Gooch was charged in 1st District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony that might have been punishable by the death penalty, although the Cache County Attorney’s Office has stated it will not be seeking the death penalty in this case.

According to Utah law, indigent defendants charged with a capital offense are entitled to defense by a team of two attorneys who meet certain eligibility requirements. The lead attorney must be state-certified.

Defense attorney Bryan Galloway said the names of three “Rule 8 certified” attorneys are submitted to the judge assigned to the case, who selects one to represent the defendant.

In Gooch’s case, attorney Rudy Bautista was appointed as lead attorney, and Galloway has been appointed to assist.

While the Cache County Attorney’s Office is not seeking the death penalty, Galloway said the judge has the discretion to decide if the Rule 8 certified attorney will remain on the case and at least as of Monday, Bautista stays.

If Gooch is convicted as charged, the judge has the discretion to sentence him to either 25 years to life in prison or life in prison without parole, according to the Cache County Attorney’s Office.

Gooch has also been charged in several other cases with crimes ranging from misdemeanor assault and protective order violations to aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault. Those cases will trail behind the aggravated murder case.

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Amy Macavinta is the crime reporter for The Herald Journal. She can be reached at amacavinta@hjnews.com.