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Pennsylvania man gets 35 years in Maryland infant’s death

HAGERSTOWN — A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced in Hagerstown to 35 years in prison for fatally abusing his girlfriend’s 5-week-old daughter.

Twenty-three-year-old Nicholas McKee of Warfordsburg, Pa., maintained his innocence during the sentencing hearing Wednesday.

Prosecutors contend he shook Bella Appel to death in January while tormented by doubt about her paternity. The girl’s mother, Jordan Appel, of Hancock, Md., has acknowledged the baby may have been fathered by someone else.

A jury convicted McKee in October of first-degree child abuse resulting in death. He also was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

The charges carried a combined maximum penalty of 55 years in prison.

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