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Springs man takes plea deal in son’s death

By: BILL HETHCOCK THE GAZETTE
June 10, 2005
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A Colorado Springs man faces 50 to 70 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to causing the death of his 3-month-old son by throwing him to the floor.
Jeffery Kyle Parks, 25, will be sentenced July 25 in the death of his son, Ethan. He pleaded guilty in 4th Judicial District Court to child abuse resulting in death and two counts of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury. Parks called 911 on April 26, 2004, and said his son was injured. Ethan wasn’t breathing when paramedics arrived at the Winfield Apartments near Powers and Stetson Hills boulevards. Ethan died two days later at Memorial Hospital. He had a head injury and several broken bones. An autopsy determined that his death was a homicide. Parks first told police that Ethan was injured in a fall from a couch, according to an affidavit outlining evidence against him. During a polygraph examination, Parks said he threw the 13-pound infant to the floor, hit him on the back of his head, shook him and slapped him on his cheeks, an investigator wrote in the affidavit. Parks hurt the child because he was frustrated that he kept crying, the affidavit says. Parks’ lawyers, Allen Gasper and Gordon Shayne, said Parks was using methamphetamine and marijuana at the time, which caused him to do things he otherwise would not have. Gasper said Parks was tossing the child forward in his hands and dropped him on the floor. “It's a tragedy all around,” Gasper said. Mark Wilmot, a psychologist who examined Parks, said the defendant suffers mental health problems but understood the consequences of the plea deal he made Thursday. Prosecutors dropped a first-degree murder charge as part of the deal approved by Judge Robert Lowrey. Parks would have faced life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0232 or hethcock@gazette.com
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