BELOIT — A Beloit man charged in the death of his infant son in March of 2017 has pleaded guilty in the case, avoiding a more severe homicide charge and a subsequent trial that was scheduled to begin this week.
Deanthony C. Hodges, 35, appeared in-person on Monday at the Rock County Courthouse before Judge Barbara McCrory and pleaded guilty to neglect of a child resulting in death and felony bail jumping.
With the plea agreement with the Rock County District Attorney’s Office, the original charge of first-degree reckless homicide was dropped.
Hodges is charged in the death of 7-week-old Amanii C. Hodges on March 20, 2017. Defense attorney Matthew Lantta said during Monday’s hearing that the plea agreement included the recommendation to include three years imprisonment for the bail jumping charge, but noted that both parties can argue the length of incarceration period for the neglect charge at sentencing.
The felony bail jumping stems from Hodges’ past contact with Amanii’s mother, Jessica A. Nelson, of Beloit, who also is charged in the case. Nelson’s case was continued until after the Hodges case concludes. She faces the charge of neglect of a child resulting in death and multiple bail jumping charges tied to contact with Hodges.
As previously reported by the Beloit Daily News, Beloit police responded to a home in the 700 block of Euclid Avenue at around 1:58 p.m. where a baby was reported to be unresponsive. Hodges told police he had been watching his son since earlier that morning, prepared a bottle for the baby’s feeding and then found Amanii to be no longer breathing. Beloit Memorial Hospital staff advised Beloit police the injuries sustained by the infant were consistent with being shaken or physically attacked.
According to court records that cite medical experts who assisted in the investigation, Amanii suffered a brain bleed caused by significant head trauma, a fracture to the back of his skull and retinal hemorrhages due to head trauma. A medical doctor cited in the criminal complaint notes that the force needed to cause the injuries was consistent with that of a high-speed traffic crash in which a person is unrestrained, also noting that the injures were consisted with shaking or slamming of a child.
McCrory did not revoke Hodges’ $10,500 cash bond that was posted on April 28, 2020 following Monday’s hearing, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 6 before McCrory.
Nelson’s case was not given a new court date, but court officials said the case would continue after the conclusion of Hodges case.