A Union man accused of killing a 2-year-old boy in February was indicted by a Franklin County grand jury.
Austin T. Stonebarger, 23, is charged in the indictment with first-degree murder.
Grand jury indictments, by law, are suppressed until a defendant has been served. Stonebarger was served Wednesday, Feb. 28, at the Franklin County Jail where he is being held on a $500,000 cash-only bond.
An arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday, March 6, at 9 a.m. in front of Presiding Circuit Judge Ike Lamke.
Stonebarger initially was charged in the Franklin County Associate Circuit Court.
According to Union police, officers responded to a home on Henry Drive just after midnight Feb. 3 for the report of a child who was unconscious and not breathing.
Officers performed CPR and the toddler was transported to Mercy Hospital Washington where he was pronounced dead.
The child had been left with his mother’s boyfriend for most of the day, police said.
When officers arrived at the hospital, the child had multiple injuries.
According to the probable cause statement filed in the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office, the child had contusions and bruises covering his body “from head to toe, front and back.” He had burns to his legs and neck.
When Stonebarger was questioned, police said he gave inconsistent stories.
When pressed about the inconsistencies, Stonebarger admitted to police that he spanked the toddler with a belt and pushed him face first into the bathtub, causing him to strike his head multiple times.
Police said Stonebarger “indicated that he had been using methamphetamine for the last couple of days.”
The child’s mother has been cooperating with law enforcement to piece together the sequence of events in the days prior to the child’s death, police said.
Stonebarger has previous misdemeanor charges for domestic assault, drug paraphernalia possession, driving while intoxicated and stealing.