SHEPHERDSVILLE - A man accused of murdering his girlfriend’s four-month-old son in early 2010 has admitted to the crime.
Samuel Harris, 19, entered a guilty plea Friday morning to the amended charge of manslaughter. He also entered an Alford plea on the charge of criminal abuse.
Commonwealth attorney Michael Mann recommended a 10-year sentence on each count to be run consecutively. Harris could be eligible for parole after serving 20 percent of the 20-year sentence.
Harris’ family cried as the defendant appeared before Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress.
Mann said the testimony would have been that on Jan. 11, 2010, Harris was upset at a crying Aiden Caro and threw the infant into a couch. The infant struck his head and would die from the injuries.
The other charge resulted from twin brother Brayden Caro suffering injuries from August 2009 until January 2010. Mann said the criminal abuse charge resulted from the defendant causing or knowing that the infant had injuries.
The twin’s mother, Courtney Caro, is currently serving a five-year sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of criminal abuse.
In looking at the case, Mann said he attempts to look at what he believes a jury would do with the evidence.
Although originally charged with murder, Mann said while there was wanton conduct, he didn’t know if there was intent to cause the death of the infant.
In many cases, Mann said it would be possible for a jury to find a person guilty of manslaughter. That is a Class C felony punishable by 5-10 years in prison.
In terms of the criminal abuse, Mann said that was a more difficult case to present. He felt good that the defendant would plead to a 10-year sentence, although he did so under the Alford plea.
With the Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence but understands the commonwealth had enough evidence to receive a guilty verdict.
With the 20-year sentence, Mann said he felt good about the outcome.
“We believe he threw Aiden down and we believe he did cause injuries to Brayden,” said Mann. “I think it’s appropriate for the case.”
Harris would be eligible for parole consideration after four years of service. He would receive credit for the 20 months he has served in the Bullitt County Detention Center.
Mann said there is no guarantee an inmate would receive parole.
The prosecutor is not sure how the family of the victim feels as he has had little contact with them. Before the Oct. 17 final sentencing, Mann said he would discuss the situation with them.
Brayden Caro was released after an examination and short stay in Kosair Children’s Hospital. Mann said he is currently in foster care.