POLK CO., NC (WSPA) – A Polk County man has pleaded guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter in connection with the death of a 5-month-old baby.
34-year-old Jeremiah Lee Jackson was sentenced to 113 months in prison.
5-month-old Cayden Berryman was found unresponsive at a home on Freedom Drive by his mother and died at an area hospital on March 30.
Berryman died from a skull fracture to the back of the head which doctors say happened due to a strike to the head on a hard flat surface like a counter top or floor.
Jackson was originally indicted on second degree Murder charges but pleaded to the manslaughter charge.
“The defendant stated in open court that he did not immediately call 911 because he panicked. Mr. Jackson has a history of both drug abuse and mental illness issues and was unsuited to watch these children,” said District Attorney Greg Newman.
“The difference between the original charge and the manslaughter charge is whether we could prove that he acted with malice towards the child. I am satisfied that we have achieved a just result. It is significant that Jackson came into court and admitted his guilt. It is a horrible tragedy. I appreciate the good people at the Polk County Department of Social Services and the Guardian Ad Litem office who have supported this family and offered services to them during this difficult time,” added Newman.