Man acquitted of punching 2-year-old girl to death

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – A jury has acquitted a 31-year-old man accused of punching to death a 2-year-old girl in Iowa County.

Court records say Cody Stevenson was found not guilty Monday of first-degree murder.

A criminal complaint said Stevenson struck the daughter of his live-in girlfriend three or four times in the abdomen on June 30, 2017, at a Williamsburg apartment. Authorities say the girl died three days later.

He testified Friday that he’d told authorities that he punched the girl but said so only to protect her mother. He says she punched her daughter. Court records don’t show the woman has been charged.

The trial was moved to Cedar Rapids because of pretrial publicity.

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