A Butte man pleaded guilty Thursday in Butte District Court to a felony charge of assaulting a minor.
Angelo Lopez, 23, previously pleaded not guilty to causing bodily injury to his six-month-old son. His lawyer, Josh DeMers, said Lopez changed his plea to guilty “so his family could move forward.”
According to charging documents, the son was taken to St. James Healthcare on Jan. 3, 2018, and was stabilized but then transported to the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.
A doctor at the Salt Lake hospital reported that a piece of the infant's skull had to be removed to relieve swelling. The baby had “suffered an injury to the left side of his brain which included a bleed on the brain and swelling of the brain.” That same doctor reported that the “injuries sustained are indicative of trauma associated with child abuse.”
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During a police interview, Lopez explained that while holding his son, he had stepped on some cords, causing a DVD player to fall. Lopez said he thought, when he jumped up or back, he turned and the infant's head must have struck the dresser.
In a subsequent interview, Lopez admitted he “freaked out” and did shake the infant, and admitted to causing the baby’s injuries.
Following his guilty plea, a visibly shaken Lopez, who is out on bail, requested visitation to see his children at Christmas, and Judge Kurt Krueger granted him a three-hour supervised visit on Christmas morning.
Sentencing will be scheduled in January.