BILLINGS – A Billings man was arrested Thursday for the alleged murder of an infant boy whose death was caused by multiple blunt force traumas, according to the autopsy report.
Jason Badger, 30, is being held at the Yellowstone County Jail on $100,000 bond.
Badger was booked on a charge of deliberate homicide for the murder of 8-month-old Christopher Ray Hackerott.
According to Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito, Badger was living in the same residence as the victim but was not the child’s father.
Deputies were called to the home on Hickory Drive in Yellowstone County on June 30 for a report of an unresponsive baby. Law enforcement observed Badger, the baby’s mother and others on the deck of the home. The deputies were informed that Hackerott was dead.
The baby’s mother told authorities she and another woman at the home had left for work the previous day around 4 p.m. and left Badger to babysit.
Hackerott’s mother said when she returned, she noticed her son’s breathing was labored. She said she kissed him and laid down next to him. When the woman woke up, she discovered her baby was dead.
Upon being interviewed by detectives, Badger said he’d bounced the baby on his leg and said the child threw himself off. Badger said he caught the baby, which authorities say may explain bruising on his arms and legs.
Badger said the baby was upset about the near fall and cried himself to sleep, according to court documents. The baby did not awaken, according to Badger, which concerned him.
Badger did not call for medical help, according to court documents.
An autopsy revealed that the baby died from multiple blunt force traumas that were unlikely accidental. Hackerott’s body was covered in bruises, according to the deputy who attended the autopsy.
The coroner opined that the injuries were likely caused by a hard slam onto a soft surface.
When presented with the findings from the autopsy, Badger changed his story.
“When I did drop him, he did bounce,” said Badger, according to court documents. “Hard bounce.”
According to court documents, Badger vomited in a nearby garbage can and became emotional as he answered questions. Toward the end of the interview, Badger allegedly said, “I know I caused it.”
Badger is set to make his initial court appearance on Tuesday.
MTN’s Aja Goare