Central Texas man accused of killing infant son pleads guilty

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Anton Juel Henry, 30, who was charged with capital murder in the June 8, 2014 death of one of his 2-month-old twins, Jaden Juel Henry, pleaded guilty to murder and injury to a child Thursday in a plea deal with prosecutors.

Anton Henry in court Thursday. (Photo by John Carroll)

Henry pleaded guilty to murder and injury to a child.

He was sentenced to 48 years in prison on the murder charge and 2 years in state jail on the injury to a child charge.

He’ll serve the sentences concurrently.

Henry will be eligible for parole after serving half of the sentence, defense attorney Michelle Tuegel said.

If he had been convicted of capital murder, he would have been sentence to life without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors weren’t seeking the death penalty.

The infant was found not breathing on June 7, 2014 after officers responded to an apartment at 2509 East Lake Shore Drive in Waco.

The child was taken first to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center in Waco and then was flown by helicopter to McLane’s Children’s Hospital, at Baylor Scott & White Hospital, in Temple.

The infant was alive, but in critical condition when he arrived at Hillcrest.

He was unresponsive and unable to breathe on his own, the affidavit said.

He had bruising to his abdomen and chest and on both arms, the left side of his head was discolored and he had “substantial swelling to the left and right back portion of his head,” the affidavit said.

He suffered multiple skull and rib fractures and brain hemorrhaging, didn’t have brain activity and died shortly after midnight on June 8, the affidavit said.

An autopsy later determined the cause of death as blunt force injury.

Henry told officers he found the infant blue and not breathing when he checked on his son after taking a shower, the affidavit said.

After he failed to find a pulse, began to perform CPR before calling 911, the affidavit said.

But during a later interview with an investigator, Henry said he was frustrated by Jaden’s constant crying, the affidavit said.

He said grabbed the infant by the torso “and squeezed him really hard”

He also said he wrapped Jaden in a blanket, forcing his arms inside the blanket and then pulled hard on the ends “which caused a squeezing effect.”

He said he “forcibly placed” the infant on the bed at least one time, but was unable to explain Jaden’s skull fractures, the affidavit said.

Fewer than half of the 360 prospective jurors expected to report for Henry’s capital murder trial showed up last Friday.

McLennan County summoned 500 residents to appear Friday, 140 of whom were exempted, disqualified or asked to reschedule.

Of the remaining 360, after additional exemptions or disqualifications, a panel of only 138 remained.

“One hundred thirty eight is good,” District Clerk John Gimble said, “but we still are disappointed more than 200 didn’t show up again.”