Man accused of murdering infant son found competent to stand trial

Posted at 11:59 AM, Sep 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-09 13:59:30-04

UTAH COUNTY, Utah -- A father accused of shooting and killing his infant son in April appeared in court Monday for a competency hearing.

Joshua Petersen, 21, faces aggravated murder charges in connection with the deadly shooting in his American Fork home.

A judge ruled Monday that Petersen is competent to stand trial.

Police said Petersen shot his 5-month old son, Ryker, at a home near 500 North and 500 East on April 5.

According to the probable cause statement, “Joshua Petersen laid his five month old son on a couch in the basement of his American Fork residence…and loaded a single round into a .22 caliber rifle. Joshua returned to his son with the rifle, pointed the rifle at his son’s forehead, and shot his son.”

The infant was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, then flown to Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City where he was pronounced dead.

Police said Petersen planned to shoot himself after killing Ryker, but a family member intervened.

Prosecutors will now decide if they should seek the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

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