Iowa man found not guilty of first-degree murder in infant son's death

IOWA FALLS, Iowa (AP) — A judge has found an Iowa man not guilty of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in the 2021 death of his infant son.

Judge Bethany Currie wrote that Nicholas Edward Cox, of Iowa Falls, mishandled his 6-month-old baby, Kaeggin, the day the child died in February 2021, the Des Moines Register reported.

But Currie did not find enough evidence that Cox’s treatment caused his son’s death, acquitting him on Friday of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death.

Currie wrote that the child’s death likely was due to a preexisting infection.

“Mr. Cox was absolutely wrong to treat K.C. the way he did on the morning of his death,” she continued. “However, the court cannot say beyond a reasonable doubt that K.C. died of any one or more of the injuries Mr. Cox inflicted on him that morning.”

Currie wrote that Cox “undoubtedly” committed the lesser offenses of child endangerment and assault but that he cannot be found guilty of those crimes because prosecutors did not charge him on those counts.

Hardin County Attorney Darrell Meyer and Cox’s lawyer both declined to comment to The Associated Press on the case Tuesday.

Police said Cox gave various stories about his attempts to save the baby, finally telling investigators he was “way too rough” with the infant. An autopsy showed the baby died of asphyxiation and blunt force trauma to the neck and spine.

The baby also had many bruises and other hemorrhaging around his eye, the medical examiner said, and had other bruises and wounds that were in the process of healing.