- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) - A Utah woman pleaded not guilty Monday to lying to police investigating the death of her 2-year-old son, who prosecutors say was beaten to death by her boyfriend over potty training.

The boyfriend, Joshua Schoenenberger, 34, faces an aggravated murder charge in the case. Prosecutors haven’t said whether they will seek the death penalty, but the Layton man on Monday was assigned defense attorneys qualified to handle such cases.

Schoenenberger’s lawyer, Ed Brass, said he hasn’t yet seen the evidence in the case.

The mother, Jasmine Bridgeman, 23, appeared in court Monday in a red jail jumpsuit with her hands shackled in front and her long, red hair in a braid. Schoenenberger, also shackled, wore a similar jumpsuit and looked down at the podium in front of him during much of his brief, separate court appearance.

The couple were arrested last month after they brought 2-year-old James Siger Jr. to a hospital in Layton. When they arrived, the boy had stopped breathing and was badly bruised, according to jail documents. Doctors restored his breathing but found he had suffered internal injuries.

His body also showed evidence of past abuse, police said.

Schoenenberger initially told police that he left the boy alone in the bathtub and returned to find him face-down in the water, police wrote in jail booking documents. Later, he said his girlfriend caused the injuries while giving the boy a bath but then acknowledged the beating, the records say.

Police say Bridgeman gave differing accounts before telling them about the beating. She said her boyfriend asked her to lie about the incident, according to jail documents.

Schoenenberger also was investigated for child abuse in 2010, when he was accused of pulling a neighbor child off a bicycle, choking him and burning him with a cigarette during a water balloon fight between some kids, Layton police Lt. Travis Lyman said. Schoenenberger pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor reckless endangerment in that case, court records show. He also has a history of drug possession charges.

Bridgeman’s lawyer, Ronald Fujino, did not provide comment on the case Monday. Both defendants are due back in court in July for separate appearances.


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