Dad JUSTIN JANOSIK has admitted beating his 22-day-old son to death. It appears he also choked and bit the baby--just because the newborn was crying. Dad has pleaded no contest to 1st-degree felony murder charges.
Father takes life sentence for death of infant son
Craig Kapita, Express-News
Updated 11:51 p.m., Wednesday, April 18, 2012
A young father who admitted to beating his newborn son to death so his fiancée could get some sleep pleaded no contest Wednesday to first-degree felony murder in exchange for a life sentence with the possibility of eventual parole.
Justin Janosik, 23, had initially been charged with capital murder, punishable only by life without parole or the death penalty, for the death of 22-day-old Kaleb Janosik last July. With the reduced murder charge, he will be eligible to apply for parole in 30 years.
Shackled and appearing in orange jail scrubs, Janosik said little during the quick hearing as visiting Judge Dick Alcala approved the plea agreement in the 226th state District Court.
But he did talk during an interview with police the same morning that emergency responders found the infant's already cold, bruised body inside his grandparents' cluttered West Side home, where he and his fiancée lived with the child. The grandparents had been away for months, prospecting for gold in Northern California, they later told police.
Janosik slapped his hand loudly against the interview table when asked how hard he hit the child, then he began to cry, Detective Timm Angell reported in court documents.
“He denied he was trying to kill his son but said he was just trying to get his son to stop crying,” Angell wrote. “When he would admit to further bad acts, his voice would lower and he was more difficult to understand.”
The child had previously been beaten, choked and bitten, police said. Janosik twice admitted to police that he caused the injuries and was also recorded telling his fiancée over the phone that the child's death was his fault.
That was one of the main reasons he agreed to the life sentence, defense attorneys Denny Callahan and Brian Powers said after the hearing, describing their client as “a smart guy with a gentle soul” who somehow snapped that night and temporarily became a monster.
“There was no way to win this case” given the multiple confessions, Callahan said, adding that his client's grandmother helped convince him to take responsibility.
Prosecutors also had good reasons for settling on a plea, said Assistant District Attorney Michael De Leon, explaining that the child's mother had been uncooperative. With an agreement, there is no lengthy appeal process and no risk of an acquittal, he said.
Janosik had no adult criminal record but was adjudicated as a minor in 2000 for inappropriately touching another child, an 11-year-old at his daycare, according to court records.