- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

HARRISONVILLE, MO. (AP) - A man accused of fathering four children with his teenage daughter was arraigned Monday on second-degree murder, child endangerment and other charges involving three of the children.

The 47-year-old man was ordered to remain in custody on a $500,000 bond during a brief hearing in Cass County Circuit Court. The man agreed to a not guilty plea that Judge Jacqueline Cook entered for him. He did not say anything else.

Prosecutors say the defendant impregnated his daughter four times and had been having sex with her since she was 13. The daughter is now 19 and only one of the four children she birthed is still alive. The father is charged in one of their deaths.

Janeal Matheson, the man’s public defender, did not say anything during the hearing and did not immediately respond to a phone message Monday seeking comment.

The Associated Press is withholding the man’s name to protect the identity of his daughter, an alleged sexual assault victim.

Two of the babies’ bodies were found in January in coolers on rural property where the family had lived near Harrisonville, about 40 miles south of Kansas City.

Authorities say one of the babies died in February 2007, shortly after its first birthday. They say the child showed signs of having pneumonia, and that the defendant failed to seek medical help.

No charges were filed in the other infant’s death.

Authorities exhumed the body of a third infant last month from a property near Dustin, Oklahoma, where the family apparently lived for a short time.

Oklahoma authorities are investigating the death but haven’t filed charges.

Prosecutors in Missouri have said the surviving child, a 3-year-old boy born in August 2005, is in state custody.

The man is charged with eight felonies: one count each of second-degree murder and statutory rape, and two counts each of endangering the welfare of a child, incest and accessory abandonment of a corpse.

If convicted of all charges, he could be sentenced to life in prison plus 37 years.

His wife, also 47, is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of hindering prosecution. She is free on $10,000 bond.

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