HOPEWELL, Va. -- David Gans, a Hopewell man arrested for killing his three-week-old son Jeremiah, entered an Alford plea on second-degree murder charges in Hopewell Court on Wednesday.
With the Alford plea, Gans maintained his innocence, but conceded there was evidence to convict him of the crime. He faces up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced.
In June 2016, police responded to Gans' S. 13th Avenue home and found baby Jeremiah unresponsive.
The baby was taken to John Randolph Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
After a five-month, multi-agency investigation and an autopsy, a warrant of arrest for first-degree murder was issued for Gans, the infant's 21-year-old father.
The Medical Examiner's Office ruled Jeremiah died due to blunt force injuries to head and torso. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.
Police said the autopsy showed the baby suffered torn tissue and several broken bones caused by someone's forced handling.
Gans admitted to being the sole caretaker of the infant at the time of the death, according to prosecutors.
“It kind of blindsided me. I didn't see this coming at all,” David Gans' mother said after her son's arrest. She asked that we not reveal her identity.
“He’s not a murderer. He didn't kill his baby," the mother said tearfully. "I'm a mother and I'm a grandmother too and if I even thought he hurt his baby, I would have been the first person to tell him.”
Gans mother said she was out of town when the incident happened, but her son told her Jeremiah wasn’t making any noise that evening.
“He went to check on him and he wasn't breathing anymore,” she said.
The mother said that's when Gans called 911.
Gans is due back in Hopewell Circuit Court on June 14 for a pre-sentencing hearing.