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Father receives maximum sentence in Mercedes Lain case

Sentenced to 2.5 years, but will likely only serve 9 more months
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 11:28 AM EST
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PLYMOUTH, Ind. (WNDU) - A parent charged in the death of his 11-month-old daughter has been given the maximum sentence.

Kenneth Lain was sentenced Friday in connection to the death of Mercedes Lain in August 2021. He pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent in January and will serve two and a half years in prison. He will be credited with one year of time served.

Lain started earning good time when police arrested him roughly 6-months-ago, meaning he’s actually already served twelve months of his 30-month sentence.

He’ll continue to earn one day of good time credit with every day he serves on the remaining 18-months, setting up a potential release date before the end of 2022.

The Marshall County Prosecutor says he expected Lain to receive the maximum possible sentence.

“Mercedes was living in the Economy Inn and the living conditions there were one of the bases of neglect of a dependent, along with transferring temporary custody to Justin Miller who had a background that no self-respecting parent would turn their infant child over to,” said Marshall County Prosecutor Nelson Chipman.

Lain’s attorney argued for a one and a half year sentence with six months of probation so Lain could prove he’s working to stay in addiction recovery and turn his life around, while the state acknowledged his previous probation violations and felony convictions related to dependent neglect as reasons to consider him a high risk to re-offend.

“All those aggravators put together to justify the judge giving him the maximum amount that he could,” Chipman said.

Chipman says Lain’s poor living conditions at the Plymouth Economy Inn are part of the reason he faced this neglect of a dependent charge.

That’s where Lain lived and often cared for Mercedes around the time she disappeared.

This is now the second child death related to that location after a two-year-old was beaten to death in one of these rooms in 2015.

Chipman says this case prompted community leaders to keep a closer eye on the Economy Inn, as well as another troublesome property across the street.

He says police have responded to numerous overdoses at both the Economy Inn and Red Rock Inn.

“We’ve had too many things come out of that Economy Inn and Red Rock. It certainly fosters a climate that has resulted in at least two child deaths and we’ve had numerous overdose deaths,” Chipman said.

Mercedes’ mother, Tiffany Coburn, is pleading guilty on the same charge. Coburn is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 25.

Justin Miller is currently serving 65 years in prison for his role in the 11-month-old’s death. This comes after he pleaded guilty to murder, waiving his right to appeal.

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