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Man Sentenced In Death of 7 Month Old Baby In Susquehanna County

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SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY, PA -

Andrew Lesser was sentenced today in the 2013 case of infant Mavrick Starke's death. Lesser took a plea deal of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child and will spend 18 to 36 months in Susquehanna County Jail as a result of suffocating the 7 month old.


Emotions were running high in the courtroom as Mavrick's grandmother took the stand and read a letter addressed to her dead grandson. Debra Hack called Lesser a "monster" and says she knew something was wrong as soon as Lesser entered her daughter and grandson's lives. Throughout Hack's statement, family and friends of Lesser shook their heads and called her a liar. 

He was 7 months old. He had just started rolling over. For such a little baby, he had such a big heart.

— Debra Hack, Mavrick's grandmother

Hack says Lesser used to threaten her. Telling her in text messages that he would kill her if she went to authorities. Hack says her reports to law enforcement were ignored. She told the court on Monday that the day before Mavrick's death, Lesser told her he would make sure she never saw her grandson again. 

Lesser was not charged with the crime until three years after the incident. Investigators originally found no indication that Mavrick's death had been murder. In 2016, the investigation was re-opened with new information, and police say Lesser admitted to putting his hand over the baby's mouth to stop it from crying. A forensic pathologist determined that the infant had died of suffocation.

"This was a hard fought negotiated compromise," says defense attorney Paul Ackourey, "There's no question that what Andrew did was wrong, I can tell you it was unintentional."

In addition to the jail time, Lesser was sentenced to 7 years probation, during which time he is not allowed to consume alcohol or any controlled substance without a valid prescription.