Indiana Supreme Court affirms Dylan Tate's sentence for murder of 18-month-old

Ken de la Bastide, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.
·2 min read

Mar. 18—ANDERSON — The Indiana Supreme Court has affirmed the life without parole sentence for Dylan Tate who was convicted in the death of his girlfriend's son, 18-month-old Harlan Haines.

Tate, 29, was convicted by a Madison Circuit Court Division 1 jury in 2019 on charges of murder, child molesting, neglect of a dependent resulting in death and two counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Judge Angela Warner Sims' sentence was unanimously affirmed in January.

The state's highest court looked at two issues raised by Tate in his appeal that the court erred by admitting certain testimony and that there was not enough evidence during the trial to support the torture and child molesting aggravators of the sentence.

"We find sufficient evidence supporting these two aggravators and reject Tate's invitation to reweigh the evidence," the opinion reads.

The court opinion states that during his trial Tate's attorney didn't raise objections to the testimony.

"The medical records alone provide sufficient support for the jury's finding of torture, the decision reads. "Recall that H.H. (Harlan Haines) arrived at the hospital bruised all over, and the doctors and nurses found myriad injuries, including a paper towel stuffed down his throat and significant brain damage from blunt force trauma."

The court wrote the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Tate killed an 18-month-old child.

The boy's mother, Jennifer Harris, was sentenced by Judge Sims to 40 years in prison for neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

Her sentence was affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals in February.

Tate was charged in 2018 after taking Harlan, his girlfriend's child, to the emergency room at Community Hospital on Feb. 23, 2018, according to a probable cause affidavit. Harlan died two days later.

Tate told police he found the child gasping for air when he woke up to get a drink of water that morning, according to court records. He said he drove Harlan to the Anderson hospital without waking the boy's mother, but crashed his vehicle into a pole not far from his Poplar Street residence.

Tate told police a driver in a passing car drove him and Harlan to the hospital, where physicians were able to revive the child, who was not breathing and whose heart had stopped, according to the affidavit. Harlan was transferred to Indiana University Health Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, where he died.

During the toddler's treatment, doctors noted signs of severe physical abuse on his body, according to court records. Neither Tate nor Harris could explain the injuries to police, officers said.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.