Pierce County prosecutors Thursday charged a Fife man with first-degree assault for allegedly injuring his 4-month-old son by violently shaking him.
A not guilty plea was entered on Jeremy Joseph Yergers behalf in Superior Court. Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Yerger jailed on $350,000 bail.
Yergers attorney, Wayne Fricke, had requested bail in the amount of $25,000, saying his client is not a flight risk.
Yerger, 36, and his wife have lived in Pierce County since 2000, Fricke said, and Yerger is a former serviceman who now works at Madigan Army Medical Center.
Deputy prosecutor Jared Ausserer had requested $500,000 bail.
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 didnt slam him down, Yerger allegedly told police.
Doctors who examined the boy found evidence of past head injuries, including a skull fracture, court records show. They also found a significant brain injury that was likely caused Monday, the records show.
Yerger also is charged with witness tampering.
He allegedly called his wife from jail and encouraged her to change a statement she made to police, court records show. She allegedly told investigators her husband doesnt do well with sleep deprivation and has called his son a little bastard when hes awakened in the night, the records show.
Yerger asked her to tell police she wasnt in the right state of mind when she gave her original statement. Yerger told her to tell police he loves her and his son but to say nothing more, the records show.
Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644