UPDATE: St. Joseph Man Pleads Guilty to Murdering A Second Child
ELK RIVER -- A St. Joseph man who pleaded guilty to fatally beating a 7-month old child in 2018, also pleaded guilty Tuesday to 2nd-degree murder in the death of a different child in 2015.
According to the charges filed in Sherburne County, the child's mom had been dating 31-year-old James Wood for a couple of months.
Wood, who was 26-years-old at the time, had stayed at her southeast St. Cloud apartment at times and trusted Wood to watch 2-year-old Billy Chapman and his two older brothers while she went to work that day.
Court records show Wood called 911 to report the toddler was showing signs of medical distress. Emergency responders arrived to find the boy appearing to be having a seizure.
Wood told them he believed the child had fallen off the couch earlier in the day and hit his head.
Chapman was brought to St. Cloud Hospital and was then rushed to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. He died the following day.
Medical experts determined Chapman died from complications related to a traumatic brain injury highly associated with a violent shaking or slamming. The doctor said symptoms would develop immediately and would not be expected from falling off a couch. The boy also had a fractured arm that had no signs of healing which indicated the injury was recent.
An autopsy determined Chapman's death was the result of a stroke associated with multiple blunt force injuries and the manner of death was homicide.
Wood pleaded guilty to the Sherburne County murder charge on Tuesday, the same day he pleaded guilty to killing 7-month-old Noah Belgarde in Rice in 2018.
Wood will be sentenced for both crimes on February 19th.