Rockland Man Sentenced in Baby Death After Outburst in Court 

Catherine Pegram

A man from Rockland who admitted to killing his 9-week-old daughter is going to prison for 16 years. 25-year-old Robert Harford, Junior, was sentenced today in a Knox County courtroom for the death of Ava Gushee. But not before an outburst that cleared the courtroom.In October, Harford pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the death of his daughter in August of last year.Harford was originally charged with murder.He told police he threw the baby to the floor when he got frustrated with her crying.Harford’s father was addressing the court as part of today’s sentencing when Justin Gushee, a cousin of the baby’s mother, charged Harford’s table.Harford’s lawyer, Stephen Peterson, says he’s not sure who Gushee was trying to attack.”I’m told, I didn’t hear it myself, he was yelling, ‘I’m going to kill you or some type of threat of that nature. Thankfully, the courthouse today had screening, which is not used often enough so a firearm was not an issue. That type of thing in an emotionally charged case – and this certainly was one of those – can happen.”Gushee was taken away by authorities and the court was emptied to restore order. Peterson says he’s not surprised by the flare up. Harford cried during the sentencing and read a four-page letter to the court, apologizing to the Gushee family.He was also sentenced to 6 years probation.