DAKOTA COUNTY, Minn. - A Minnesota man was sentenced Wednesday to more than 24 years in prison in the death of his 13-day-old son.
Michael Herkal, 33, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, nearly 16 months to the day after Apple Valley police responded to an Aug. 12, 2018, medical call for an infant not breathing, WCCO reported. The child died two days later, after doctors determined he had suffered a skull fracture and bleeding in his brain.
Herkal was charged initially with felony assault and malicious punishment of a child, but three additional charges of murder were filed after authorities received the autopsy report, KARE11 reported.
According to WCCO, Herkal initially told authorities his toddler pulled the newborn off the couch twice but later claimed the baby slipped from his hands and fell onto a coffee table during a diaper change.
During his plea hearing, however, Herkal admitted he also shook the infant violently and slapped him, the TV station reported.