DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A man who claimed a 2-year-old choked on a Pop Tart has been charged with murder in the boy’s death, less than a year after his release from prison on a child endangering charge, a prosecutor’s spokesman said Tuesday.
Justin Payne, 26, of Dayton, called 911 from an apartment on Saturday morning to say his girlfriend’s child apparently choked on the toaster pastry while Payne was in the bathroom and that the boy was breathing heavily.
The Montgomery County coroner’s office said the child, Jacob Barker, died Sunday from “blunt force trauma” to his head, neck and torso. The office on Tuesday ruled the case a homicide.
Montgomery County Prosecutor’s spokesman Greg Flannagan said Tuesday that Payne has been charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering children. A judge set his bond at $1 million on the new charges.
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Payne didn’t have an attorney, and likely will get a court-appointed counsel. The prosecutor’s office indicated his case will be taken before a grand jury.
Payne was arrested Saturday and initially jailed on a felonious assault charge.
Records show Payne pleaded no contest in June 2012 to a child endangering charge involving an infant and was released last November. Court records show that child was less than 2 months old and suffered serious injury, but survived and is now 4 years old.
The boy’s funeral services are scheduled for Thursday.