UTAH COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - A young father who admitted to shooting and killing his five month-old son learned his fate in court Monday.
A Utah County judge sentenced Joshua Petersen, 21, to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Petersen cried as he apologized for what he did. “I'm very sorry,” he told the court. “I would take it back if I could in a heartbeat, I loved my boy.”
Petersen shot his son Ryker last April inside his American Fork home, but hestitated taking his own life instead calling his grandma who talked him out of it. At sentencing Petersen's mom pled for mercy blaming depression.
“When Josh started a new medication,” she said, “he seemed to drift further and further into depression. Before we could change this medication the worst happened.”
In exchange for a guilty plea, the prosecution didn't ask for the death penalty. It was a deal Ryker's mom approved. “The death penalty is ultimately a life sentence with lots of appeals and so the fact that we're getting a life sentence without the appeals is very appealing to the family,” said Craig Johnson, Utah County prosecutor.
Despite pleas for leniency from Petersen's family, the judge said no chance of Petersen on the streets is the only way to make sure he doesn't harm again.
After the sentencing, emotions ran high.
Ryker's mom's family did not appear before media cameras. But Petersen's family wanted to share both their losses.
“It's sad that depression caused this,” said Pam Thompson, Petersen's grandma. “We miss Ryker.”
Ryker would have celebrated his first birthday Wednesday.