Man accused of murdering infant son appears in court

Posted at 12:04 PM, Apr 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-15 14:10:34-04

PROVO, Utah -- An American Fork man who allegedly shot and killed his 5-month-old son appeared in court Monday.

Joshua Petersen, 21, is charged with criminal homicide and aggravated murder in connection with the April 5 shooting.

If convicted, Petersen could face a minimum of 25 years in prison or, if prosecutors decide to seek it, the death penalty.

"We're several weeks and months away from making that kind of decision, but certainly the defendent, Mr. Petersen, had a right to know, as notice at this hearing, that that's a possibility along with life without parole or 25 years to life - all those things that the statute provides," said Craig Johnson, Deputy Utah County Attorney.

Some of Petersen's family members were in the courtroom Monday morning and sobbed as the aggravated murder charge was read by the judge.

Dusty Kawai, Petersen's attorney, said he has been speaking with his client daily, and that Petersen has been too fragile to talk about the details in the case.

"He calls me and he is just bawling; he is weeping," Kawai said. "I've seen a lot of very, very sad people in my career and he is at the top of the list, and understandably so."

Petersen's next appearance will be a waiver hearing scheduled for late April.

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