A Denton man accused of murder in the death of his infant son pleaded guilty Monday and is seeking punishment from a jury.
Emilio Morales, 27, was arrested in 2018 on a count of injury to a child, a first-degree felony, a day after his child’s death at a home in the 2900 block of Desert Drive.
Following three years of court appearances and jury trial postponements, Morales pleaded guilty Monday to murder. There is no plea bargain, and instead, a jury will decide Morales’ punishment, a Denton County District Attorney’s spokesperson said.
He now will face up to life in prison and a fine up to $2,000.
Denton police and paramedics went to the home around 7:09 a.m. on June 24, 2018, in response to a report of an unconscious person.
They found a deceased nearly 2-month-old infant and discovered he had several bruises and abrasions. The following day during an interview at the Denton Police Department, police said Morales admitted to striking his child.
Police at the time said they interviewed Morales after a medical examiner confirmed the boy’s injuries were consistent with assault. Morales then was arrested and charged with injury to a child.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office on June 26, 2018, confirmed the child’s cause of death was blunt force injuries to the head and ruled his death a homicide.
Denton police at the time of the arrest said they weren’t going to charge for murder, but Morales was later indicted by a Denton County grand jury on one count of murder.
Allison Beckwith, a spokesperson for the department, said investigators at the time chose not to charge Morales with murder because injury to a child and murder are both first-degree felonies. She said a grand jury instead decided to charge him with murder when they were presented with the case in the fall of 2018.
Morales’ attorney, Tim Cole, said in a phone call Wednesday morning that the case may conclude Thursday afternoon.
Morales had been detained at the Denton County Jail from June 26, 2018, until Nov. 8, 2021, when he posted bail of $500,000.