OTTAWA — The defense for a man who has admitted to killing his 2-year-old son in Putnam County filed a motion to have the U.S. Supreme Court review his case surrounding double jeopardy concerns.
A pre-trial originally was scheduled for Wednesday in Putnam Common Pleas Court, but since the motion had been filed the pre-trial was canceled, according to Judge Keith Schierloh.
Soto, 33, served five years in prison for child endangering in the death of toddler Julio Baldazo. He originally told authorities the death was the result of an ATV accident. However, after his release from prison, Soto walked into the Putnam County Sheriffs Office and admitted he had beaten the boy to death.
Soto previously said he accidentally ran over the boy with an ATV while going around a building in Continental and then changed the story to say the boy had fallen from the ATV while they were riding it. Findings of Lucas County coroner’s office were consistent with Soto’s initial two stories.
Soto pleaded guilty as a part of a deal to the lesser charge and the first-degree felony charge of involuntary manslaughter, a form of homicide, was dismissed.
The elements for proving child endangerment and homicide are different so double jeopardy does not apply, Justice Pat DeWine wrote for the majority. The ruling reverses a 2-1 decision of the Lima-based 3rd District Court of Appeals that said the prosecution would constitute double jeopardy.
“For charges to which the defendant did not plead guilty, jeopardy does not attach until a jury is empaneled or in a bench trial when the judge starts taking evidence,” DeWine wrote. He said Soto pleaded guilty prior to that point so double jeopardy only attached to the charge of child endangerment to which he admitted guilt. That charge and involuntary manslaughter are not the same, he said.
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