Jury finds Jake Gonzalez guilty of child abuse resulting in death, terroristic threats
A Jefferson County jury says Jake Gonzalez intentionally inflicted the injuries that killed two-year-old Hollen Siedschlag.
FAIRBURY, Neb. (KOLN) - A Jefferson County jury said Jake Gonzalez intentionally inflicted the injuries that killed two-year-old Hollen Siedschlag.
The jury returned guilty verdicts for one count of child abuse resulting in death and one count of terroristic threats. They spent about two hours deliberating.
The charges centered around the events of February 26. Gonzalez, who is 19, was living with his girlfriend, Baily Siedschlag, and her two children in a Fairbury apartment. Security footage shows Baily leaving daycare with a healthy-looking Hollen just before 5 p.m. The defense disputed the time but multiple witnesses testified to it.
Baily testified that she left Hollen with Gonzalez at their apartment while she went to Walmart with her daughter. Security footage puts her there around 5:15 p.m.. The next verifiable action came at 6:18 p.m. when Baily placed a 12-second phone call with her mother to relay a code word to a friend. That friend then called the police.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the apartment shortly after and body cam footage shows Gonzalez fleeing from the scene. He was located and arrested about 30 minutes later. Deputies found Hollen laying face down in a closet with severe injuries. He was transported by ambulance to the local hospital and flown by medical helicopter to Omaha Children’s Hospital. He died in the early morning hours of Feb. 27.
In closing arguments, the State listed 10 reasons why it must have been Gonzalez who killed Hollen. Those reasons included that he was the only one who was alone with Hollen after daycare, that Baily was the one who called for help, that Gonzalez was sleep-deprived because of his new job and that Gonzalez lied about the injuries happening during daycare.
The Defense argued that the jury should not rule out the possibility that Baily inflicted the injuries. Attorney Kelly Breen said you couldn’t prove that some of the liver injuries weren’t already present, especially after Hollen fell down the stairs a few days earlier. He pointed out multiple issues with Hollen’s health before and attributed those to Baily. He accused her of being deceptive in testimony and comments to authorities.
Breen declined to comment after the verdict was returned.
Sentencing is set for Jan. 6 at 11:00 a.m. Gonzalez could be sentenced to life in prison.
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