Minnesota man charged in 'unintentional' death of infant

A Staples, Minn., man has been charged with unintentionally causing the death of a 3-month-old baby in rural Cass County, Minnesota. Presley Arron Sleyster, 20, was charged with second-degree murder, without intent. He was also charged with child...

Presley Arron Sleyster
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A Staples, Minn., man has been charged with unintentionally causing the death of a 3-month-old baby in rural Cass County, Minnesota.

Presley Arron Sleyster, 20, was charged with second-degree murder, without intent. He was also charged with child endangerment for a situation that could cause harm or death, a gross misdemeanor.

According to a court document, on Dec. 5 at 3:48 p.m. Deputy Mike Germain of the Cass County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to a "medical situation" in rural Staples. Dispatchers informed Germain that there was a 3-month-old that had a seizure and was having difficulty breathing, according to the statement of probable cause document.

Germain encountered Sleyster on the front steps of the home and two women were inside, one tending to the infant and the other on the phone with ambulance services.

The child was transported by helicopter to a hospital in St. Cloud, Minn., and was later transferred to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.


The child later died on Dec. 7, the document stated.

On Dec. 10 the child's death was ruled a homicide by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office and the manner of death was ruled "blunt force homicidal violence," according to the court document.

During the autopsy, an investigator observed a "bruise behind the right ear of the child and also observed a skull fracture that was approximately 10 centimeters long on the right side of the child's skull," the document said.

While Sleyster is not the child's biological father, he told investigators that he considers the child to be his son.

Sleyster said he moved in with the child's mother, her parents and three brothers just before the couple was married on Nov. 15. The two had been in a relationship on and off again for about three years, according to the court document.

Sleyster indicated to authorities that he is currently not employed and that he is the child's primary caregiver when the mother is at work.

Sleyster initially told investigators that when he woke up the child on Dec. 5 the baby "immediately began screaming" and continued to scream until suddenly going "stiff as a board."

Sleyster said he called a grandmother to ask what he should do, and she told him to call 911. He denied that the child fell was dropped or struck, according to the document.


Investigators determined that no one else was home at the time the injuries occurred to the child.

After giving investigators various possibilities for how the child could have suffered the injury, Sleyster later told investigators that it "could have happened when he had the child in the bed with him."

Sleyster explained to investigators that there is a night stand next to the bed and the child "may have hit his head on that when the defendant reached for the child's bottle," the document stated.

"The defendant indicated at this point he was holding the child in his arm and the child was screaming. The defendant indicated he quickly turned to get the bottle on the night stand," the court document stated.

Sleyster also commented to investigators that he "wanted him to have the childhood I never had," according to the court document.

The document also states that the defendant "told the investigator that he already told the child's mother 'I'm the one at fault for this cuz it happened on my care.' "

A warrant was issued for Sleyster's arrest on Dec. 28. He was booked in the Northwest Regional Corrections Center in Crookston on Dec. 29.

Sleyster appeared in court in Walker, Minn., Monday morning. He could be released on conditions at $500,000 or $1 million bail without conditions.


If convicted, Sleyster could get up to 40 years in prison.

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