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Affidavit: 3-year-old died of injury to small intestine that was likely the result of abuse

Detectives arrested John Affourtit, 33, on September 27 for investigation of first-degree murder - child under 12, position of trust.
Credit: Denver Police Department

KUSA — The man accused of fatally abusing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son told police the boy’s injuries were the result of him falling into the bathtub – something not corroborated by the coroner, according to an arrest affidavit that was unsealed on Thursday afternoon.

John Affourtit, 33, is charged with one count of murder in the first degree – child under 12/position of trust and one count of child abuse resulting in death. He appeared in court on Thursday for an advisement hearing, and was stoic and calm.

The victim, later identified as 3-year-old Jeromiah Gurule, was found unresponsive at an apartment in Denver’s Virginia Village neighborhood on Sept. 25. Affourtit was arrested for his alleged role in the boy’s death two days later.

According to the affidavit, Affourtit told police that Gurule was recently sick and bleeding. Affourtit is unemployed and watched the boy during the day while his mom was at work. He also has partial custody of his 3-year-old daughter from another relationship.

The affidavit said Affourtit told police that Gurule fell in the bathtub a week before his death, resulting in injuries to his eyelids and a “knot” on the right side of his head. Police “found this statement suspicious,” according to the affidavit, since these aren’t injuries consistent with a fall.

Affourtit told police Gurule later became sick and lethargic, and was vomiting. The morning of his death, Affourtit said he cleaned vomit off the boy multiple times.

According to the affidavit, Affourtit’s girlfriend’s mother told police that she was worried he was abusing the victim and wanted to set up “nanny cams” in the home to monitor his behavior.

According to the affidavit, Gurule had lacerations on his eyelids, a possible shoulder dislocation and trauma to his head and abdomen. The coroner also said he had an infection to his abdomen that was likely fatal and the result of abuse.

Common symptoms associated with this injury are pain, nausea, vomiting and a lack of appetite, the affidavit said.

Gurule’s death was ultimately ruled a homicide.

In 2011, an ex-girlfriend of Affourtit's requested a temporary protection order against him. In a police report, Aurora officers detailed an instance where Affourtit violated the order by calling the woman multiple times while she was at work saying he didn't care about the order and that he "needed" to talk to her. Officers took him into custody for violation of a protection order later that day.

Affourtit is slated to appear in court again on Nov. 2 for a preliminary hearing.

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