St. Joseph Man Pleads Guilty to Murdering Child
FOLEY -- A St. Joseph man accused of killing a 7-month-old boy in Rice has pleaded guilty. Thirty-one-year-old James Wood pleaded guilty Tuesday to 2nd-degree unintentional murder while committing a felony.
According to the complaint filed in Benton County District Court, Wood went to the home in Rice in October 2018 to stay the weekend with his girlfriend and her two children.
Records show the mom put the boy down to sleep in a rocking bassinet around 8:00 p.m. and the other child went to sleep about an hour later.
The mother told investigators she checked on both boys before going to bed around midnight. The mom said both boys were asleep and were in good health when she checked on them.
Records show Wood did not go to bed at that time.
The following morning, the mother told police she went to check on the baby and found him not breathing, cold to the touch, and with bruises on his face. Wood's vehicle was gone and text messages to him went unreturned.
When officers arrived at the home, they overheard the mom ask the older boy if he saw anything and the boy respond that "James hit him" and said, "he is naughty". The boy later demonstrated to police how Wood hit the infant by hitting himself in the forehead.
Wood was later found in the Morrison County Jail being held on DWI charges after authorities there say he was arrested for driving northbound in the southbound lanes of Highway 10.
Wood will be sentenced in February.