UPDATE: Not guilty pleas were entered on Yerger’s behalf this afternoon in Superior Court. Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered him jailed in lieu of $350,000 bail.
Yerger’s defense attorney, Wayne Fricke, had argued for a bail of $25,000, saying his client is not a flight risk.
Yerger and his wife have lived in Pierce County since 2000, Fricke said, and Yerger is a veteran who works at Madigan Army Medical Center.
Deputy prosecutor Jared Ausserer had requested $500,000 bail.
PREVIOUS POST: Pierce County prosecutors today charged a Fife man with first-degree assault for allegedly injuring his 4-month-old son by violently shaking him.
Jeremy Joseph Yerger, 36, is expected in Superior Court later today for arraignment.
Yerger was arrested Monday after authorities were called to his home to render aid to “an unresponsive child,” court records show.
They found the boy lying on the floor with his eyes rolled back into his head. He was not moving and was having difficulty breathing, the records show.
He was taken to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with brain bleeding and retinal hemorrhaging often associated with child abuse, charging papers state.
Yerger was home alone with the child when police arrived.
He allegedly told detectives his son woke up crying about 6:15 a.m. Yerger said he gave the boy a pacifier and went back to bed, the records show.
The child woke up about 20 minutes later and issued “a piercing scream,” Yerger told authorities. The defendant gave the boy a bottle but the child “kept crying at me,” Yerger said.
Yerger told police he grew frustrated when the boy would not stop crying and put the boy on the bed.
“I was forceful, but I didn’t slam him down,” Yerger allegedly told police.
Doctors who examined the boy found evidence of past head injuries, court records show. They also found a “significant brain injury,” the records show.
Yerger also is charged with witness tampering.
He allegedly called his wife from jail and encouraged her change a statement she made to police, court records show. She allegedly told investigators her husband doesn’t do well with sleep deprivation and has called the child “a little bastard” when he’s awakened in the night, the records show.
Yerger asked her to tell police she wasn’t “in the right state of mind” when she gave her statement. Yerger told her to tell police he loves her and his son but to say nothing more, the records show.