Court Reduces Sentence For Man Who Shot 2-Year-Old Daughter

Published: May. 13, 2005 at 3:31 PM EDT|Updated: May. 20, 2005 at 10:55 AM EDT
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(INDIANAPOLIS) -- A 60-year prison sentence for a man who killed his daughter and then carried her body through his neighborhood was unreasonable because of the man's mental illness, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

The three-judge panel on Thursday ordered Andrew E. Cate's sentence reduced by 10 years, ruling that a lower court erred when it denied his request for postconviction relief.

Cate, 44, was found guilty but mentally ill in the November 1991 slaying of his 2-year-old daughter, Christina.

Cate shot his daughter 10 times with a semiautomatic handgun as she lay waiting for a diaper change, then took off his clothes and carried the toddler's body through his Beech Grove neighborhood, according to court records.

He said he was acting out the Old Testament story of Abraham and Isaac, in which God told Abraham to sacrifice his son but intervened at the last minute. Cate said he expected God to do the same thing for his daughter.

Four psychiatrists, including two appointed by the court, testified that Cate was insane at the time. The Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the sentence issued by Marion Superior Court Judge John R. Barney Jr. was "manifestly unreasonable" because of Cate's serious mental illness.

Cate could be released from the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City in 2011 as a result of the sentence reduction.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)