FARMINGTON — Clint Corydon Nokes’ lies compounded the catastrophic damage he had done to his 7-week-old son, a prosecutor said Wednesday before Nokes was sent to prison.
“Nokes’ first response was to save himself, not his son,” Nathan Lyon, a deputy Davis County attorney, said during the sentencing hearing in 2nd District Court.
Nokes called the boy’s mother, saying he didn’t know why the infant had stopped breathing. That caused a crucial delay because the mother first called the baby’s pediatrician, Lyon said. A call to 911 was placed later.
“He lied to her and then he lied when paramedics and police arrived,” Lyon said.
Hudson Nokes died a day later at Primary Children’s Medical Center, following a severe beating in Clearfield on Dec. 1, 2017.
Judge David Hamilton called the boy’s death “horrific” and sentenced Nokes to 15 years to life in prison.
Nokes, 19 at the time, originally was charged with aggravated murder, with the potential of the death penalty, but in June he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree murder.
State law mandated the sentence Hamilton imposed Wednesday.
In brief remarks to the court, Nokes, now 22, said he regretted his son’s death.
“I feel horrible about what happened to everybody, especially Hudson,” he said. “I still think about it, all the suffering he experienced.”
Lyon chronicled the injuries the baby sustained.
“A massive skull fracture with associated bleeding, consistent with severe and forceful blunt force impact to his head,” the prosecutor said.
The boy suffered a broken first rib, high in his chest.
“In talking to the doctors, that’s a pretty tough bone to break in a child,” he said. “The only way you can break it is through an incredible amount of pressure.”
The infant had cervical spinal cord damage, plus a broken left tibia and right femur, the latter two injuries a few days old, Lyon said.
In previous court documents, police said Nokes told investigators he “exploded” over the infant’s crying.
He admitted to throwing the baby onto the couch and into his swing, pulled him out of his swing by a leg, carried him into the kitchen that way and dropped him into the sink, striking his head.
But the prosecutor said a plea bargain to the lesser charge was reached because of mitigating factors in Nokes’ favor.
“The conduct is inexcusable, but he has no prior criminal record, he was very young and by all accounts immature,” Lyon said.
“It was readily apparent he was mentally and emotionally ill-equipped to handle the stress and demands associated with raising a young child.”
Defense attorney Jeremy Delicino said Nokes was immature, impulsive and had a history of attention deficit disorder.
“An individual who was not able to be a dad the way most of us here in the courtroom are,” Delicino said.