Prosecutors in Utah County have charged an American Fork man with murder for killing his 5-month-old son.
Joshua Petersen, 21, now faces one first-degree felony aggravated murder charge for the April 5 slaying of Ryker Petersen. The charge was filed Friday 4th District Court and carries a maximum potential sentence of death. The severe charge and potential penalty resulted because the victim was a child, according to court documents.
Police say Petersen shot his son Ryker in the head with a .22 caliber rifle then tried to turn the gun on himself. A family member reportedly intervened before he was able to take his own life.
During Petersen’s bail hearing, American Fork Sgt. Gregg Ludlow said Petersen had been planning to kill the child for about a month.
The shooting occurred at Petersen’s home near 500 East and 500 North in American Fork.
No court hearings have been scheduled in the case, according to court documents. If convicted, Petersen also could face life in prison without the possibility of parole, or an indeterminate time in prison of at least 25 years.