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Rigby man expected to plead guilty to killing 3-month-old boy

Crime Watch

RIGBY — Prosecutors expect a Rigby man to plead guilty to killing a 3-month-old baby in October.

Ashtonn Butikofer died Oct. 7 at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, after the boy’s father Dillon Hunter Butikofer allegedly left him with fatal injuries. Butikofer has been behind bars in Jefferson County since Oct. 5 on two felony injury to a child charges. However, Jefferson County prosecutors amended the charges to voluntary manslaughter as part of a plea agreement with Butikofer on Thursday.

“Butikofer did unlawfully but without malice killed A.B. to wit: by shaking and/or dropping A.B. causing injuries from which A.B. died,” the new charge reads.

In exchange for a guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to recommend no longer than three to 15 years in prison for the charge. Defense attorneys will recommend Butikofer be placed on probation.

RELATED | Baby allegedly abused by father dies at hospital

Rigby Police reports show in October, emergency responders found an unresponsive baby at Butikofer’s home and began performing CPR. The baby was rushed to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center by ambulance. Doctors at the Idaho Falls hospital told officers the baby had bleeding on the brain, a fractured clavicle in the process of healing, and a previous brain injury that looked to be in the process of healing.

Medical staff said the injuries were consistent with child abuse.

The baby was rushed to Primary Children’s Hospital by air ambulance. Medical personnel confirmed the injuries were severe and could possibly lead to death. They also indicated the injuries were consistent with the infant being shaken or slammed into something.

During the investigation, authorities learned this wasn’t the first time abuse of the child was suspected. Police note in their report they were called alongside Child Protective Services about a month before.

RELATED | Rigby man arrested after infant is rushed to Salt Lake City hospital

Investigators spoke with the child’s mother, who said bruises on the baby were caused by a dog and the clavicle fracture could also have been caused by the animal, according to court documents. It’s not clear if CPS took any action.

Butikofer initially told the police the baby had fallen off his lap. When officers said that did not make sense, he eventually said he had gotten upset and shook the baby. He also talked about how a few weeks earlier he picked up the child, squeezed and shook him.

Butikofer is expected to officially enter the guilty plea at an arraignment that is not yet on the court docket. After entering the plea, a judge will schedule his sentencing.

Voluntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and or a $10,000 fine.

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