A 21-year-old Minneapolis man is charged with second-degree murder after allegedly punching his four-month-old daughter at least 15 times because he didn’t like the noises she was making, PEOPLE confirms.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the charges against Cory Morris on Tuesday, two days after his initial arrest. He faces 40 years in prison if convicted.
According to a statement from Freeman’s office, ambulance personnel and police were dispatched to Morris’ home on Sunday afternoon and found the lifeless body of his infant daughter, Emersyn.
Soon after they had arrived, Morris told emergency responders he’d struck the baby with a closed fist multiple times, Freeman’s statement alleges.
Emersyn was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. Police say the infant had severe bruising and swelling to her face and chest. She died from blunt force trauma, according to Freeman’s statement.
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“This poor baby, just four-months-old, died at the hands of her father, who has admitted to punching her 15 times with a closed fist and hitting her seven times in the chest,” Freeman said in his statement. “As a father and grandfather, such brutal actions are difficult for me to comprehend. Family members have suggested there may be mental health issues here. These will need to be evaluated during the course of this case.”
According to the statement, responding officers searched Morris’ home and allegedly noticed blood on the walls and floor in the baby’s room. The father’s clothing, hands and arms were also allegedly covered in dried blood.
Once he was in handcuffs, Morris allegedly told officers he lives with his girlfriend, Jennifer Anderson, who is Emersyn’s mother.
Anderson was at work Sunday and left Morris home alone with the child, police said.
Freeman’s statement says Morris was watching TV when Emersyn started making “baby talk” noises.
Police say Morris told them he took Emersyn out of her baby swing before carrying her into her bedroom, where he placed her on the changing table. The baby wouldn’t stop making noises, so Morris allegedly started hitting her.
It was unclear Wednesday if Morris has retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf or has entered a plea.