FANNIN COUNTY, Tex. (KXII) - A man initially accused of capital murder in the death of his infant son has pleaded guilty to a different charge.
Inside a Fannin County courtroom Thursday morning, Rakwon Dennis pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his three-month-old son Draven.
Last June, baby Draven Dennis died at a hospital after he stopped breathing at his Honey Grove home.
The Texas Rangers stepped in to start an investigation.
"He had just gotten off work and came home," said Fannin County District Attorney Richard Glaser. "The baby was little fussy."
Glaser said after an interview with the Texas Rangers, Rakwon Dennis was charged with capital murder of a child under ten years old.
"He struck the baby which caused the death," Glaser said.
An autopsy shows the baby's cause of death was homicide by blunt force trauma.
"Then we had the issue of intent. What did this young father intend to do? He's not a bad person, but he did an incredibly stupid thing," Glaser said.
Glaser said there was no way of proving if Dennis killed his child intentionally.
So they offered a deal, which Dennis accepted: Pleading guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in exchange for 18 years in prison.
"It was caused by a blow to the head. It was knowingly done and it was reckless. That's manslaughter," Glaser said.
Jim Dennis says his son was railroaded into pleading guilty.
"He is innocent. I have all the medical records."
Jim said his grandson's death was caused by an accidental breathing issue and that Jim is now trying to appeal the charge.
"My son is a very good father and loves his children very much," Jim Dennis said.
"We're glad to have it behind us. These baby cases are horrific," Glaser said.
Rakwon Dennis will be eligible for parole after nine years.