A 31-year-old man has been given a 25-year sentence for killing his girlfriend's 7-month-old son in her central Minnesota home while the boy's 4-year-old brother watched.
James J.R. Wood, of St. Joseph, Minn., was sentenced in Benton County District Court last week after pleading guilty to second-degree unintentional murder in connection with the death in October 2018 of Noah Belgarde in Watab Township.
With credit for time in jail since his arrest, Wood will serve the first 14⅓ years of his sentence in prison and the balance on supervised release.
A medical examiner's autopsy found the baby suffered several skull fractures and bruising.
According to the charges, the mother called 911 about 10:20 a.m. on Oct. 13, 2018, and said her baby was dead. She said that Wood, her boyfriend at the time, had spent the night. When she awoke, she noticed that Wood had left in his car.
When a deputy arrived, she asked her 4-year-old son whether he saw anything, "Oh, James hit him," the boy replied.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482