GREENFIELD — A man convicted of killing his 1-year-old daughter could have at least 24 years — or as many as 66 — added to his sentence depending on the outcome pf an unrelated sexual assault case in Henry County.
A Hancock County jury found Matthew Wagoner, 32, of Greenfield, guilty of murder last year in the death of his young daughter, Zoey; he was sentenced to serve 67½ years in the Indiana Department of Correction.
He currently is being housed in the state’s Miami Correctional Facility in Bunker Hill with his earliest possible release date set for June 2064 when he is 79.
Before his May 2015 arrest in Hancock County, Wagoner faced charges in an unrelated case in Henry County in which he was accused of sexually assaulting and exploiting a young girl. Now, court records show Wagoner will plead guilty in that case as part of an agreement with prosecutors.
The Henry County Prosecutor’s Office declined to release details on the plea agreement filed late last month, the Courier-Times in New Castle reported.
Police in Henry County began investigating Wagoner in early 2014 after two women reported having found inappropriate photographs of a young girl’s body on Wagoner’s cellphone, according to court documents.
Wagoner told police he had photographed the child, who was often left in his care, after she complained of an irritation on her skin; the victim told police she never felt any discomfort, according to charging documents. Wagoner said he intended to send the photographs to the child’s mother, but the woman never received them, court document state.
As detectives were investigating those allegations, another victim came forward to accuse Wagoner. A young girl reported she saw Wagoner forcing a friend of hers — the same child he is accused of photographing — to participate in a sex act, charging documents state.
The girl told police the abuse occurred when she and a friend were staying the night at Wagoner’s home in Henry County in late 2013. The girl described to investigators how she watched through a crack in the door as Wagoner assaulted her friend, court documents state.
Wagoner and his then-wife, Jessica Merriman, moved to Hancock County in 2015 while the Henry County charges were pending against him.
In May 2015, their 1-year-old daughter, Zoey, was found dead in their home in the 500 block of Wood Street in Greenfield after she suffered injuries consistent with blunt-force trauma, local investigators said.
Wagoner was the last person to see Zoey alive, police said. The assault that killed the little girl would have occurred while she and Wagoner were alone together, investigators said.
Wagoner was found guilty at the end of a four-day trial one year ago of one count of murder and one Level 1 felony count of neglected of a dependent resulting in death.
In Henry County, Wagoner faces one count of child exploitation as a Class C felony and two counts of child molestation, one as a Class A felony and one as a Class C felony.
If Wagoner receives the maximum possible penalties for each of the charges he faces, a judge could tack as many as 66 years onto the nearly seven decades he’s already been ordered to serve in prison.
The Class A felony Wagoner faces carries a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison; each Class C felony Wagoner faces carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison.
Wagoner is scheduled appear for sentencing at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 26 in Henry Circuit Court 2.