FARMINGTON — A Layton resident accused of beating a 2-year-old to death in May 2015 has been given his verdict.
Days before his 38th birthday, a jury found Joshua Scott Schoenenberger guilty of aggravated murder Friday in Farmington’s 2nd District Court.
Jurors had the option to convict Schoenenberger of child abuse homicide, a lesser offense, but instead opted to convict him first-degree felony aggravated murder, according to online court documents.
Schoenenberger was arrested the same day that his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son JJ Sieger was admitted to the Davis Hospital in 2015. He and the child’s mother, Jasmine Bridgeman, told doctors that the child was found face down in a bathtub after being left unattended, according to charging documents.
After he was transferred to Primary Children’s Hospital in critical condition, doctors found that the boy had suffered “severe internal injuries” to his abdomen and no fluid could be found in the boy’s airways, charging documents say.
The boy died two days later.
Schoenenberger later told police that he became upset with JJ and “began to squeeze the boy on his abdomen” and “accidentally” stepped on the boy while he was exiting the bathtub, according to charging documents.
However, during a preliminary hearing in January 2016, a state medical examiner testified that the child’s fatal injuries were the result of severe trauma that would take “substantial amounts of force” to cause, according to previous Standard-Examiner reporting. The doctor later said the injuries found on the child were not consistent with a fall or an accident.
Layton Police officer Ryan Jeppson said during the 2016 hearing that Schoenenberger admitted to intentionally dropping JJ after the child soiled a diaper the same day. He later admitted to intentionally stepping on the boy’s abdomen, according to Jeppson.
Bridgeman was charged with obstruction of justice, and was convicted of lying to police about the boy’s death. In 2016, she was sentenced to serve a term of one to 15 years in prison. She is currently serving her prison term at the Utah State Prison, and her next parole hearing is set for May 2020.
Prosecutors chose not to seek the death penalty against Schoenenberger in 2016.
Schoenenberger’s next court appearance will be for his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled to take place on Nov. 26 in Farmington’s 2nd District Court.