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Missouri Couple Pleads Guilty To Harrowing Child Abuse In Infant Son's Death

The infant son of Robert James Burnette and Megan Hendricks died at just 9 weeks old from bleeding in the brain and other injuries after Burnette stuck his fingers down his mouth, prosecutors say.

By Jill Sederstrom

A man and his girlfriend each pled guilty this week in a harrowing case of child abuse that ended in the death of a baby. Prosecutors say the man, Robert James Burnette, 21, admitted to physically abusing the infant in a series of violent events that included shoving his fingers down the infant's throat, throwing him on a bed and violently shaking him.

Burnette, 21, pleaded guilty to the felony child abuse charges against him Monday in the St. Charles County Circuit Court in Missouri. The victim's mother, Megan Hendricks, 21, pled guilty on Thursday morning, the prosecutor's office told Oxygen.com.

The couple's young son, Jaxon Burnette, died in November 2016 at just 9 weeks old from brain bleeding, possible liver contusions, a broken arm, clavicle fractures, and multiple rib fractures, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Police say Burnette stuck his fingers down the young baby's throat to try and reach his voice box to get him to stop crying.

He later told police he had been "too rough with him" while shaking him, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Wentzville Police Detective Sean Rosner told the paper in 2016 after the abuse occurred, that Burnette's parents had informed police he'd been violent in the past, and even tried to kill his own brother over the years by beating him, stabbing him, drowning him, or smothering him.

Further, he was admitted to mental institutions in the past for anger issues, the Post-Dispatch said.

Prosecutors say Hendricks witnessed the abuse and failed to intervene or get help. 

Authorities said that during her interrogation she failed to show emotion and referred to her son as "the kid" or "the baby," the Post-Dispatch reported.

Burnette and Hendricks will both face sentencing October 22. Prosecutors plan to ask for 30 years in prison for each defendant, but a judge will make the final decision, prosecutors said.

[Photos: St. Charles County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney/Facebook]

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