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American Fork man accused of murdering infant son pleads guilty

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Posted at 1:45 PM, Sep 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-10 16:27:25-04

UTAH COUNTY, Utah -- A father accused of shooting and killing his infant son in April pleaded guilty Tuesday.

Joshua Petersen, 21, is accused of shooting and killing his 5-month-old son Ryker in his American Fork home on April 5.

Petersen has agreed to a plea deal meaning he will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole and prosecutors will not seek the death penalty, according to his defense attorney.

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.

Petersen was found competent to stand trial on Monday. He officially pleaded guilty to aggravated murder Tuesday.

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