Case Update: Father of 6-Month-Old Adrien Decker Sentenced to Prison

Adrien Decker of Newark Ohio
Adrien Michael Wayne Decker.

Two years ago, I told you the story of a “loving and happy baby” named Adrien Michael Wayne Decker, whose family called him “Boss Baby.”

Adrien died on March 12, 2020. Initially, it was thought Adrien’s death was caused by his father, 18-year-old Michael Decker, who became frustrated with the baby’s crying early in the morning on March 10, 2020 and “roughly put the infant into a bouncing seat to the point that the baby hit its head.”

When Michael, Adrien’s mom, and their three-year-old son got up a few hours later, Adrien was unresponsive in his bouncy seat. After two days on life support, Adrien passed away surrounded by loving family and friends.

In death, Adrien became a tiny hero when his organs were donated to other children.

Michael W Decker mug shot Newark Ohio Police Department
Michael W. Decker
(Newark Police Department)

Michael Wayne Decker was arrested and charged with endangering children. In May of 2020, a grand jury in Licking County, Ohio indicted Michael on three felony counts of endangering children (two second-degree and one third-degree) and a single first-degree felony count of involuntary manslaughter.

As it turned out, the medical evidence in the case was complicated. After being reevaluated, the Franklin County Coroner’s Office ruled Adrien’s cause of death was undetermined, as was his manner of death. Defense experts say Adrien died from positional asphyxiation. There was no bleeding on Adrien’s brain, which would indicate shaken baby syndrome. Adrien had three healing rib fractures, but experts were not able to determine when those were inflicted and by whom. Neck or spine injuries could not be determined, although the prosecutor claimed Adrien had suffered a C3 injury. The baby also suffered from undiagnosed heart and kidney conditions.

In Licking County Common Pleas Court today, 20-year-old Michael Decker pleaded guilty to a single third-degree felony count of child endangering. The prosecutor’s office dismissed the other three charges against him. Judge David Branstool sentenced Michael to 24 months in prison for pleading guilty to failing to protect Adrien, giving him credit for the 443 days he spent in jail prior to his release in May of 2021. That leaves Michael with just under 290 remaining days to serve behind bars.

Michael Decker (left) with attorney Kort Gatterdam at Michael’s March 31, 2022 sentencing hearing.
(Ty Wright/The Newark Advocate)

Michael and Adrien’s mom, M.H., are still a couple and are currently expecting their third child, a girl.

This case is beyond tragic from all angles. Although it initially appeared to be a case of child abuse when I first covered it, I don’t believe Adrien’s death was necessarily the cause of abuse. Still, I felt this was an important update to share, and I’ll continue to help the family keep Adrien’s memory alive.

More details:

Newark man gets 24 months in prison in child endangering case (Newark Advocate)

Photos from Michael Decker’s sentencing hearing (Lancaster Eagle Gazette)

Sources: The Newark Advocate; the Lancaster Eagle Gazette; Licking County Common Pleas court portal

One comment

  1. This is beyond the hardest thing I’ve ever been threw he means the world to me an him not being here hurts more than anyone will ever know Michael was a good DAD an I was truly lost not understanding any of this just made no Sense at all an even after all that’s been Discovered the one thing the family needed was the truth, for so many reasons see Michael loved Adrien so much that yes he cried an cried at the hospital an I guess men only cry when they have done something see Michael was raised by a women an it was clear crying was a natural thing we do when something hurts us an Madison an Michael had lived together for four years so he was a day In An out Daddy not just a weekend Dad an he loved those babies it was amazing watching him be a father an Madison become such a loving Mother this just did not fit what they stood for! Only ones that have lost someone so little an so close would understand you feel guilty no matter what anyone says they was your responsibility 100% ex specially at these younger ages so no matter yes Michael feels guilty but adults pushing children yes Michael was 18 but your not an adult the minute you turn 18 the detective on this case has karma he will have to live with he is the worst detective Newark has had he told me we don’t do plea deals in licking county well they do if the realize their wrong an a young father who still to this day says I never was rough he just simply was not going against what Madison said see what they don’t know is when Madison said this she was talking about there oldest child not Adrien the Detective twisted Madison’s words to make Michael say this cause they both was told someone was going to jail an Michael’s love for Madison an his son Adrien they picked him an how often do they just get it wrong I just wish the judge would of been a man an stood up an said you know with all this evidence an no broken spine or C3 pics lost thanks to Children hospital an his kidneys being completely dead an his heart being 48grams when a 6 mths old heart ranges from 24-26 grams no this was not the cause of death though look Now if this was something hereditary an the next baby could of been saved if someone would of just done there job this this worries me the most cause if I loose another an they could of been saved now really what happen was very important but no we will finally get to Moran once Michael dose his time for not protecting his son and having him sleep an a bouncer just wow no one will everbtruly know all this family lost cause no matter what your opinion is the truth is hidden an you may think Madison An Michael know yet they still want answers!

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