Arizona Police Arrest Father in Death of 2-year-old Son
by Jim Walsh - Oct. 7, 2011 | The Republic
An angry and frustrated father admitted to Gilbert police that he squeezed his 2-year-old son until the little boy stopped breathing, thinking throughout the killing about the marital problems he had with his wife, records state.
Jonathan Cole, 25, then wrote his wife, Harjit, a letter saying, "I'm sorry I squeezed Alex too hard and killed him," according to court records.
"The defendant squeezed the life out of his 2-year-old son with his bare hands," either through strangulation or suffocation, Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Stephanie Low said during a videotaped arraignment Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Cole was arrested shortly after his son, Alexzander, was pronounced dead Wednesday night at Cardon Children's Medical Center, according to court records.
He was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and child abuse and was held in lieu of a $350,000 bond.
In the letter, Cole wrote to his wife that "the reason he did this was that he was angry with her," Low said.
Sgt. Bill Balafas, a Gilbert police spokesman, said the family is originally from Michigan and had been living at the InTown Suites extended-stay motel, near Arizona Avenue and Guadalupe Road, in Gilbert for nearly two years.
He said the family had no prior contacts with the Police Department. A records search turned up only a speeding ticket in Mesa on Cole. State Child Protective Services said it had no record of any involvement with Cole.
A man who answered the door at one of the family's rooms at the motel on Thursday declined to speak to a reporter.
The father first told police that Alexzander had stopped breathing while sleeping, telling a 911 operator: "I put him down for a nap."
Initially during his interview with officers after his son was pronounced dead, Cole asked whether a stuffed animal could suffocate a baby but quickly broke down and told police he wanted to be taken to jail, according to court records.
The distraught father then described the boy's death in detail, according to the court records. The father and son were alone because Harjit Cole was working.
"Alex's back was to Jonathan's chest and Jonathan squeezed Alexzander until he stopped breathing," the report said. "He stated he did this out of frustration and because he was angry at his wife."
The report quoted the father as saying the baby struggled "five or six times to get free but he continued squeezing harder until he stopped breathing. He stated as he was squeezing he was continually thinking of things his wife has done to him in the past and was frustrated that Alex would not go to sleep."
Police were alerted to Alexzander's death at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday when Jonathan Cole called 911, telling them that the toddler was "unresponsive and still not breathing," Balafas said.
Alexzander's body showed signs of hemorrhaging around the eyes, neck and upper chest, the court records said.
Cole told the 911 operator that he had first attempted CPR after looking up the instructions online and said "only a few minutes" had passed by, but he later admitted that Alexzander stopped breathing 1 1/2 hours earlier.
Cole stated his name and date of birth during the videotaped arraignment but otherwise did not speak. The commissioner gave him an opportunity to argue against the bond but told him that any defense attorney would advise him not to speak about the details of the case.
Balafas said an autopsy was scheduled for Thursday. An employee for the Medical Examiner's Office said the results were not available.
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