An Idaho Falls man, who admitted to throwing and dropping his girlfriend’s 18-month-old son, causing serious injuries, has pleaded guilty to injuring a child, a felony, and infliction of great bodily injury, an enhanced penalty to the child abuse charge.
James Harris Dunkle Jr., 30, was arrested in February for the severe beating of the toddler. He told police the victim had hit his head at least five times throughout the day.
The victim suffered a fractured skull, collapsed lung, several bruises and bleeding on the brain. He was taken to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, via life flight, where he was treated for his injuries.
Friends of the victim’s mother set up a GoFundMe fundraising campaign to pay for medical bills. The campaign has closed after reaching its $11,575 goal.
The hospital could not be reached for comment Wednesday on the toddler’s condition.
Dunkle faces up to 30 years in prison for the crime.
In a plea agreement with Bonneville County prosecutors, signed last week, Dunkle pleaded guilty to injuring the child, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a $50,000 fine, a $5,000 civil fine and restitution. And he pleaded guilty to the great bodily injury enhancement, which could bring an additional 20-year sentence.
Dunkle also agreed to pay restitution on all charged and uncharged crimes.
In turn, prosecutors agreed to not file additional charges associated with Dunkle’s conduct on the day the crime was committed.
Dunkle will be sentenced Sept. 18.