exposing the dark side of adoption
Register Log in

Foster father won't face trial in death of child


JUNEAU, Wis. - A man is set to plead to charges that he killed his three-year-old foster child and injured another one in May.

Shane Marquardt is scheduled for a plea hearing on Feb. 2, rather than facing trial later next month.

The 32-year-old Waupun man is charged with first degree reckless homicide and first degree reckless injury.

He faces up to 85 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

Prosecutors said 3-year-old Camron Gardner and his 2-year-old brother, Ethan Schwartz, suffered blunt trauma to their abdomens May 5, causing Camron to die of internal bleeding several hours later.

According to the criminal complaint, Marquardt allegedly admitted to delivering the fatal and near-fatal blows. The complaint said he told investigators he flew into a rage after finding vomit in Camron's bed.

Family members are disappointed the case won't go to trial, said Pat Cramer, great-grandmother of the two boys. She said they were also concerned Marquardt would see his sentence reduced in a plea deal.

Dodge County district Attorney Steve Bauer declined to comment on a potential plea agreement.

Cramer, who shares guardianship of Ethan, now 3, with the children's mother, Ashley Mundt, said Ethan still has a difficult time understanding his older brother is gone.

Mundt said she hoping the trial would have helped her better understand what happened. She said she was not sure whether she could take the stand at sentencing.

"We're never going to know so many things like 'Why did he do this?"' Mundt said. "It had to be more than just being angry because a little boy threw up."

2007 Jan 13