Jason Olson, Deseret News
Jason Putnam sits during his hearing in 4th District Court, Provo. He recently pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in his son's death.

PROVO — A man convicted of shaking, punching and strangling his 20-month-old baby, Jordan, to toughen him up, begged for forgiveness Wednesday.

"I wanted to say how sorry I am," said Jason Putnam, his voice cracking. Putnam recently pleaded guilty to aggravated murder for his son's death. "To my family and friends, I hope they can forgive me. I hope my son Jordan can forgive me. I know what I did was wrong, and I take full responsibility for that."

Putnam, 24, was arrested a year ago on June 12 in American Fork after he called 911 to report his son wasn't breathing. However, his story about Jordan falling off the bed was not consistent with the bruising and internal injuries. Putnam later confessed to police that he had severely beaten the child because the child wouldn't stop crying.

Family members sobbed throughout a sentencing hearing Wednesday in 4th District Court, which determines if Putnam will be granted the possibility of parole when he is sent to prison.

After a full day of testimony, Judge Steven Hansen said he would rule in the next few days, so as to be able to thoroughly consider all the evidence.

Prosecutors argued Putnam shouldn't be given parole due to the depraved, heinous nature of the crime.

"A parent has not just killed his son but physically tormented him, brutalized him," Buhman said. "The demands of justice far outweigh the defendant's needs and any other concerns."

State medical examiner Edward Leis testified that Jordan Putnam had a 3- to 4-inch skull fracture, bruises on his face, arms, chest, legs and injured genitals.

Mary Putnam, Jordan's mother, testified her son was anemic like her and got bruises all the time due to his explorative, adventuresome nature.

The child's brain also was bruised and swollen, and he had suffered severe blunt force trauma in his abdomen, consistent with a punch, which tore inner blood vessels and caused nearly a liter of blood to drain out into the child's stomach — more than half of the child's blood supply, Leis testified.

"The immediate cause of death was abusive trauma to the head and torso," Leis said.

Family and friends testified they never saw Putnam get violent, but his mother, Chris Putnam, testified he had a temper and often hit walls when he got angry. He even threw furniture around the room after they had a confrontation.

Other friends said they had no knowledge of these run-ins and only knew he was a hard worker who loved music and was good at sports.

"We will grieve every day for that baby, so will Miko and Mary, so will all of them who love them," said Daphne Spencer, whose son grew up as best friends with Putnam, also known as Miko. "This is such a tragedy. We know he has to be accountable for what he's done, but (we hope he gets) the opportunity to redeem himself."

Defense attorneys Tom Means and Gunda Jarvis asked each witness if they believed Putnam should serve prison time and all said yes, he needs to be accountable for his actions. However, they all agreed that life in prison was not the answer.

"We only ask that the court leave that door open, that parole might — certainly doesn't mean it will be — but that it might be a possibility in the very, very distant future, a quarter of a century" Means said. "That would encourage him to maintain a good citizenship, pursue programs."

Mary Putnam said she didn't know the answer for sentencing, but she said she desperately wanted her family to be together again. She has lost not only a son, but a husband and father to their 5-year-old daughter.

"I lost half my family in one day," she said, tears running down her face. "My little girl wanted me to make sure everybody knew that her brother is in heaven with Jesus, he's OK," Mary Putnam said. "She loves her papa, and she needs him to come home."

"Even though you know that through his intentional child abuse, your son died, you still love him?" Jarvis asked.

"Yes," she said. "Everybody makes mistakes."


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