MAHASKA COUNTY, Iowa – A man charged with the 2019 murder of a four-month-old Oskaloosa boy has been sentenced to prison after taking an Alford plea in the case.

Johnny Dale Jr.

Johnny Dale Jr., 25, was sentenced last week to 30 years in prison. In January, he took an Alford plea to charges of child endangerment resulting in serious injury, willful injury causing serious injury, and neglect of a dependent person. The murder charge was dismissed.

An Alford plea means Dale didn’t admit guilt but recognizes there is enough evidence for a conviction.

Officials say in June of 2019 Dale was watching his girlfriend’s four-month-old son Kane Bruns while she was at work. He admitted to becoming frustrated with the baby and bouncing him on an air mattress to try to get the child to sleep.

When the mother returned to her Oskaloosa home, the baby was unresponsive and had pale skin and a bruise on his forehead. At the hospital, doctors found the child had bleeding in the brain and his spinal cord was severely damaged. The baby later died.