BEMIDJI - A 29-year-old man accused of injuring his infant daughter entered an Alford plea to felony third-degree assault.
Roger Darrin Warner of Laporte entered the Alford plea Aug. 7 to felony charge of third-degree assault of a victim under the age of 4.
An Alford plea has the legal effect of a guilty plea. While Warner did not admit guilt, he conceded prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.
The plea was entered before Beltrami County District Judge John Melbye. Sentencing was sent for Sept. 17. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Warner remains in Beltrami County Jail.
At about 10:30 p.m. Jan. 2, a law enforcement officer was notified of a then-3-month-old baby, later identified as Warner's daughter, who was being airlifted to Fargo, N.D., due to life-threatening injuries consistent with non-accidental trauma.
Medical reports indicated she had a leftward gaze, stiff muscle tone, poor respiratory effort and was nonresponsive to painful stimulus, according to court documents. A CT scan showed multiple fractures with intracranial hemorrhage, acute subdural blood, bilateral subdural hematoma, high eye bi-parietal skull fracture and a tenth rib fracture.
The injuries were noted as "highly suspicious for non-accidental trauma," according to court documents.
During the investigation, Warner gave three accounts of how the child may have suffered such injuries, according to court documents. He initially told law enforcement she was pulled from a bed and then said he dropped the girl in the shower. He later said he fell on top of the girl.
A doctor told police that a history of being pulled from a bed or some sort of drop in the shower would not explain the "significant and extensive" injuries the infant suffered.