Parolee charged with murder in infant death case

Prosecutors have formally filed first-degree murder charges against a Fort Collins man accused of fatally striking an 11-month-old girl with a chair after he became"frustrated."

The Larimer County District Attorney's Office this week formally charged 24-year-old Juan Canales-Hernandez with first-degree murder of a victim under 12 years old, a Class 1 felony punishable by up to life in prison. He is also charged with child abuse causing death and attempting to influence a public servant — Class 2 and Class 4 felonies, respectively — as well as being a habitual child abuser, court records indicate.  

Police say Canales-Hernandez confessed Thursday to striking his girlfriend's infant daughter with a chair after he got "frustrated" earlier in the week. Eleven-month-old RaeLynn Martinez died Friday evening at a Denver-area hospital.

Court records show the suspect — who is not the child's father — admitted to the attack in an interview with investigators only after he and the child's mother concocted a story alleging that the girl was injured by accident. He said he told her that they needed her to lie so he would not go back to prison, according to an arrest affidavit.

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