Bail Reduced For Father In San Francisco Infant Death

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – A San Francisco Superior Court judge Tuesday reduced bail for a man accused of causing the death of his infant son earlier this month.

Karl Aspelin, 39, was arrested Nov. 10, two days after reporting that his 3-month-old son Johan had been injured. The boy was removed from life support on Saturday.

Aspelin told police the boy had accidentally fallen, but police and prosecutors have suspected the injuries were causing by the baby having been shaken violently. Aspelin has been jailed since his arrest.

Aspelin’s friends and family packed a courtroom Tuesday morning in a show of support, as defense attorney Stuart Hanlon asked Judge Samuel Feng to reduce bail.

Hanlon said Aspelin—a Swedish citizen who owns a software company and lives, works and has family in San Francisco, and has no prior criminal history—was not a flight risk or a danger to the community. He asked Feng to reduce bail from $2 million to $500,000.

“His family is here. His life is here,” Hanlon said.

Hanlon said his client had not had time to grieve the death of his child when he was arrested and placed in a safety cell—“naked in a cement case,” as Hanlon described it.

“It’s been a nightmare what he’s gone through,” Hanlon said.

Prosecutor Braden Woods argued that bail should remain as set, saying that the baby’s severe injuries came “as a result of the actions of this particular defendant.”

Feng told the attorneys that he had read numerous letters sent to the court in support of Aspelin, and he acknowledged the dispute of the facts in the case. He agreed to reduce bail to $750,000 on the condition that Aspelin surrender his passport, which he did.

Feng called the case “a tragic situation.”

“The wheels of justice will turn,” he said. “I don’t know how fast they will turn, but ultimately, there will be justice in this case.”

Aspelin is charged with felony assault on a child causing death, which carries a potential sentence of 25 years to life in prison, according to the district attorney’s office. He is also charged with felony child endangerment.

Outside court, Hanlon called Feng’s ruling “compassionate and fair” and said he expected his client to bail out.

According to Hanlon, Aspelin had carried Johan into the kitchen in order to help his older child, a 2-year-old who was on the floor in the middle of some spilled food. He said Aspelin slipped and fell backward, and the baby tumbled to the floor.

Woods Tuesday insisted that doctors from the University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco General Hospital who examined the baby felt otherwise.

“His story of dropping the baby was inconsistent with the injuries they saw,” Woods said.

The case returns to court Dec. 14 for a status hearing.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

  • Christine Vu

    I’m a mother of 4 kids, i don’t think Aspelin brave enough to kill his own child. Especially, he didn’t have any issue with his wife and his family. Therefore, his other child still need a father around to support and guiding him in life. He is not danger to his family, just an unexpected accident. Being a good parent neither one of us want to harmful our own child! Now even the judge charged him with felony assault on a child causing death, which carries a potential sentence of 25 years to life in prison, it won’t bring his baby’s life back, and it will break his family apart!!!

blog comments powered by Disqus
Guide To The Holidays
Shine A Light On The Holiday Season With ‘Giving Tuesday’

Listen Live